New lease of life for cancer affected organs
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New lease of life for cancer affected organs

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Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad recently said in the Rajya Sabha that India is set to see a steady rise in cancer cases. However, there is a relief for those suffering from cancer. Instead of complete removal of the affected parts, doctors can now allow the cancer ravaged organs to be retained by the patient , without compromising treatment. The organs thus salvaged range from breast, liver, larynx, eyes, bone, voice box and rectum. Today amputations have given way to shrinking of tumours through localized chemotherapy.
“The trend now is to leave the afflicted organ in the body without compromising treatment,” says Dr S V S Deo, associate professor, surgical oncology at AIIMS. “So, in the early stages of breast cancer now, we remove the tumour only, along with some side tissue, leaving the breast intact. We then do breast reconstruction. Earlier, we would remove the breast and lymph glands nearby.”
Liver , which has a tremendous regenerative capacity, will be the greatest beneficiary of this innovation. Even if only a small fraction of the liver is healthy, it can regenerate on its own and also made a whole new through a new procedure called ALPPS (Associated Liver Partition and Portal vein ligation for Staged hepatectomy). This procedure is welcome during advanced stages of cancer where even a transplant won’t help, says Chennai-based Dr Mohamed Rela, a top liver transplant surgeon. “First, the liver and the portal vein supplying blood to it are divided into two. One part of the vein goes to the damaged part and the other to the healthy part. The former is tied up and gradually shrinks in size, while the other rapidly grows in size. After two weeks, the abnormal liver is removed,” says Rela. The cost: Rs 10 lakh approx for ALPPS and Rs 20 lakh for a transplant.

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