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Jan 21

HCG has been at the forefront of cutting edge cancer research: Dr (Prof) U S Vishal Rao –

Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld spoke to Dr (Prof) U S Vishal Rao, HCG, Bengaluru to know more about the cancer research in India and the steps being taken by HCG in cancer prevention and rehabilitation

What is India doing to create cancer care moonshot?India sees around more than 10 lakh new cases of cancer each year. We are actually churning out more cancer patients. As per the WHO's extrapolated figures for the next decade, we will have one in three cancer for the next coming years. This is very alarming for us to watch and see around us because the contributing factors to this are related to diet and nutrition, air pollution and the use of tobacco and alcohol.

This industry cannot survive without nicotine and it is the most potent addictive substance, it is a thousand times more potent than heroin. With the e-cigarettes, a formula was developed to increase the number of dosage of nicotine given at a much higher delivery form than what cigarettes were driving addiction for. This was a game changer product for the industry than waiting for slow products such as cigarettes.

As per the Lancet and others, nicotine does not help in quitting, it helps in reduction but not in quitting and on the other side, it helps to start. Now, the question was that it's not a harm reduction device, it's a powerful addiction substance, so do we need another addiction when we are currently grappling in this country with several such addictions due to which the health expenditure is being crushed on us. From the legal point of view, it has neither being a drug nor is registered as a drug if its a harm reduction device and it has also not gone in tobacco under the regulation. It was banned because of the potential harm it has.

Cancer Care Research and Innovation at HCGAs far as cancer research is concerned, India is way behind, compared to the rest of the world. This is because somewhere in Indian Philosophy we have not given enough thrust and funding for cancer research. HCG has been at the forefront of cutting edge cancer research through its own division for Research and Academics and through the support from government and non-government agencies. At HCG, we have made our own cancer moon shot on which we are working on.

This focuses on immunology, advanced radiotherapy, robotic surgeries, genetics immunology, and microbiomes. All of this is going to define the future of cancer, whether it is related to enabling technology, big data, precision or personalised medicine. We have recently introduced a journal of Precision Oncology which focuses on bringing in to highlight India's effort in the area of Precision Oncology as a game changer.

Onco Rehab at HCGAt HCG, we identified that oncology care was just not about treatment. We often misinterpreted as we believe that surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy are the three important triads for successful cancer therapy. Now, the fourth dimension of this is the cancer rehabilitation that lies at the center of this triad. This particular aspect comprises a comprehensive thing that HCG took a lead on.

Through the HCG life programme we initiated a very comprehensive cancer rehab programme which encompasses about eight departments. This includes speech and swallow therapy, dietary nutrition, integrated oncology and pain management, Ayurveda, yoga and other alternative medicines, psycho-oncology, physiotherapy, and dental departments. At HCG we have also integrated a very common platform of both online and offline, where doctors sit together in the Cancer Rehab Programme at HCG life. They take a deep dive into each patient's rehabilitation plan and a small chart is drawn out which includes the demands and expectations of each patient and then we look at how we deliver that in a personalised and comprehensive manner.

Cancer care: Prevention vs rehabHCG has always believed in cancer prevention and rehabilitation. We are at the front end of cancer prevention. Our campaigns have focussed on the use of tobacco and alcohol, air pollution, garbage etc. We have been addressing the key social determinants of cancer. We have also been part of the Karnataka Government's cancer control committee.

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HCG has been at the forefront of cutting edge cancer research: Dr (Prof) U S Vishal Rao -

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