Custodians of Cancer Care

D S Negi,

Combination of technology and humane touch, sums up Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute (RGCI), destined to be the largest onco-care provider in the country. D S Negi, CEO of RGCI talks to Shahid Akhter, ENN about the care, cure and medical advancements that brings hope to millions

Who are the men behind RGCI and its foundation ?

A group of dedicated and responsible philanthropists came forward to set up Indraprastha Cancer Society & Research Centre in 1994 as a non profit public society.

Besides patient care and cure, the society aimed at scientific investigations. This visionary mission was fulfilled through Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre which aims at providing cancer treatment and care at par with the best in the world at an affordable price.

The founding members received support, assistance and co-operation from the Government of India, the German Government and others. RGCI took off in July 1996 when it was declared open by Smt. Sonia Gandhi. It was formally inaugurated by Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, President of India, a month later.

What are the services and infrastructure at inception and now ?

We started with 152 beds and the graph has been on the onward growth. Currently it is 300 bedded hospital with the best of oncology infrastructure that you can imagine. State of art diagnosis and facilities provided by us, comfortably ranks us as the premium cancer centre in the country.

So far we have registered more than 1,25,000 patients from India and abroad (mostly neighbouring countries). We offer an array of services aimed at alleviating the condition of those suffering or in need of counselling. In collaboration with Indo-Nepal Tele Onco Care, we are offering telemedicine in Nepal. The patients come up for initial discussions and preliminary tests are reviewed and assessed locally.

We offer palliative care by way of home services where our team of doctors and counsellors reach out to the patients where cancer is in advanced stage. Routinely, we visit at least five houses each day.

Besides we reach out to the masses through awareness camps, seminars and other initiatives that aims at educating the people about cancer, its, causes and measures to prevent it.

Jagrukta Abhiyan educates the community about cancer in the modern era, its causes, and some measures to reduce the chance of suffering from it. Tri Shakti is another initiative in collaboration with Delhi Government that aims at screening cancer patients. There are several other outreach programmes organised time to time.

What technological advancements your hospital has introduced lately ?

To begin with, our NABL accredited speaks of our discipline, dedication and infrastructure in place.

We have eight major Operation Theatres, three minor OTs, 28 bedded postop wards. Our surgical facilities include robotic surgeries used for Urological and Gynaecological Surgery. We have over 350 surgeries to our credit.

We were the first among cancer hospitals in North India to have introduced PET CT Scan.

For the first time in India we have introduced High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound (HIFU) for treating organ confined cancer prostate using SONABLATE 500. HIFU has very encouraging results and almost nil morbidity. We are the first cancer centre in the country to put IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) into clinical practice. In Radiation Oncology, we have four LINACs with facilities of Photon Beam, Electron Beam, 3DCRT, IMRT and IGRT (Image Guided Radiation Therapy).

We aspire to be the largest Cancer Care provider in India by 2020, offering comprehensive services from Prevention to Palliation at an affordable Price

Modulated Radiation Therapy) into clinical practice. In Radiation Oncology, we have four LINACs with facilities of Photon Beam, Electron Beam, 3DCRT, IMRT and IGRT (Image Guided Radiation Therapy).

IGRT has recently opened the door to true four dimensional (4D) radiation treatment. In addition to dealing with the three dimensions of space, IGRT deals more effectively with the problem of tumor motion in time – the fourth dimension using 4D imaging, 4D simulation, 4D treatment planning, 4D treatment delivery and 4D verification. Clinicians will be able to precisely determine the margin around the tumor and programme the technology to deliver treatment, that adapts to the motion, keeping that margin constant.

Shortly, NanoKnife will also be available at RGCI. It is a minimally invasive cancer treatment that uses irreversible electroporation technology to precisely target and kill hardto- reach tumors at the cellular level. The precision of the Nanoknife allows radiologists to treat tumors that in the past would be virtually impossible for surgeons to operate on due to their location.

How do you think multi specialty hospitals are gaining popularity these days ?

Multispecialty Clinics or Tumor Boards are important in oncology. It is difficult to resist the pressure of experience as shared through the Multispecialty Clinic or Tumor Board. When all the alternatives have been shifted, convergence of opinion becomes the accepted course of action.

It offers a mechanism for reaching a consensus on treatment through the empirical process of testing our opinions against one another and through facts. It provides pretreatment uation, promotes consultations among oncologists. This leads to exchange of views and focus on outcome, quality of care and practice habits. Besides, multispecialty clinic offers opportunities to review the process of decision making in medicine, uate various approaches to medical education. Moreover, it brings together the different specialities in search of optimal treatment for a difficult disease.

In oncology, multispecialty clinics are grouped under Head & Neck Services, Breast Services, Gastrointestinal services and we have a dedicated team to look after each service.

It has been estimated that around 60 percent of cancer patients are likely to benefit from multidisciplinary treatment planning. Equally important, patient appreciates the concern shown by physicians when their condition is discussed at the Multispecialty Clinic / Tumor Board.

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