Stating that ancient Indian medicine like Ayurveda and traditional systems must be used for future research, Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu said that cost effective solutions are needed to provide affordable cancer treatment.
“It is important for doctors to return to the motherland to serve. We need to feel proud of our culture and our history,” Naidu said, addressing students during the Graduation Ceremony at Tata Memorial Hospital on Monday, along with Governor Vidyasagar Rao and Higher Education Minister Vinod Tawde. “Yoga training must also be imparted to students to ensure healthy lifestyles,” he added.
Noting that cancer is amongst the 10 leading causes of death and the treatment cost continues to be high, Naidu said the government should make cancer screening mandatory for early detection. “Two-thirds of cancer cases are preventable. Therefore, early detection and treatment is the need of the hour. The government should make cancer screening mandatory after a particular age. A healthy nation can become a wealthy nation.”
He added that while future research to find cost-effective treatment method is important, youngsters should also adopt healthy lifestyle and hygiene to avoid related ailments. “Lack of personal hygiene can cause HPV infection which can cause cervical cancer,” he said.
Realising that a huge patient load in Tata hospital is from north-east of India, Tata Trusts is now partnering with the Assam government to establish 17 referral centers for cancer to support three major cancer hospitals in the state.
“These centers will work to speed up diagnosis and reduce burden from hospitals. But most importantly, it will help reduce travelling for patients who come from far-flung areas,” an official from Tata Trusts said.
Dr Rajan Badwe, director at TMH, said, “For expert opinion or advanced surgery, our hospital will be the main hub. These centers will act as delivery systems for cancer care. A lot of doctors trained at our hospital are already serving there.” Tata hospital is also tying up with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to initiate a year-long advanced diploma programme, called ‘Kevat’, to teach patient navigation and nuances of handling cancer patients and their families in the prolonged treatment.
“At TISS, we will teach students about psycho-social support to patients. The technical aspect will be taught by Tata hospital,” said Professor S Parasuraman, director, TISS. The first batch of 30 students, starting this year, will be scaled up in the coming years and replicated in other hospitals to increase patient support base for cancer.