Indian Cancer Congress (ICC) 2013 A Game Changer in the Onco Revolution

Dr Harit Chaturvedi, Chairman, Max Institute of Oncology; Organising Secretary, ICC

Dr Harit Chaturvedi, Chairman, Max Institute of Oncology and the Organising Secretary of ICC, a pioneering luminary in oncology, has taken the cudgel of carrying forward the mutlifaceted onco initiative. He discusses the ICC delibrations with Shahid Akhter, ENN, which is scheduled for November 21-24, 2013 in New Delhi.

It is heartening to know that the Indian Cancer Congress is taking place but given the magnitude of cancer prevailing in the country, dont you think this onco revolution is happening too late?
Considering the daunting challenge and cancer burden of India, yes, we are late but you need to appreciate the numerous conferences, seminars, workshops in oncology that were de rigueur in the past. For instance, we had organised the thoracic oncology surgical workshop for the Ninth International Conference of Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute. These were confined to certain select verticals that focused on individual aspects of oncology but the need of the hour was an umbrella event like ICC to incorporate all aspects of cancer and to reach out to all involved in the fight against cancer in different ways. This will ensure a new dawn in the Indian cancer landscape.

ICC is slated to be the biggest oncology event ever in India. Can you please share some details on the magnitude and highlights of the conference?
Four days of programmes and a day of pre-conference workshop is intended to act as a catalyst to augment further research, treatment and dissemination of knowledge in the field of cancer. The highlights of the congress include multidisciplinary, scientific sessions (8-10 parallel halls) that will address the national issues and problems in cancer.
The conference has been jointly organised by the four major oncology associations”Association of Radio Oncologists of India (AROI), the Indian Association of Surgical Oncology (IASO), the Indian Society of Medical and Pediatric Oncology (ISMPO) and the Indian Society of Oncology (ISO)”and the Oncology Forum. Participants will include 25 affiliate partners from across the nation from all specialities like radiology, pathology, head and neck, palliative care, etc.
ICC should be able to inspire and help in establishing interactions among the various verticals of oncology within India and also to bridge nexus outside the country.
ICC will address national issues and challenges. The plenary sessions will be addressed by national experts and international stalwarts. There will be organ specific scientific sessions and case discussions. Challenges include mobility and awareness at various levels, cancer education, availability and improvement of infrastructure, cost of treatment and prevention, etc.

ICC 2013
Indian Cancer Congress is the first premier meeting of oncologist, scientists, allied specialists.Ancillary service providers, advocacy groups and policy makers in South Asia shall comprehensively address and redefine cancer care

Please tell us about the foreign participation ?

Foreign collaborators include OERC, IACA, Carcinogenesis Foundation, UAE Congress and WARMTH. We are expecting the President of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Dr Mehul Amin, Chairman of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Cedars- Sinai, Dr Jatin J Shah, Assistant Professor, Lymphoma/Myeloma, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Dr Mike Dickson.
We have already confirmed over 100 international faculty, 250 global thought leaders, and office bearers of leading world oncology bodies.

In European countries, it is common to see joint sessions among oncology associations. Is this the beginning in India or we had similar deliberations earlier as well?
Joint sessions are common and routine in developed nations. With this initial, humble beginning, we hope to carry forward the baton. Now onwards this will be a periodic event. The congress will come out with well defined strategies.
They are intended to help care providers implement new ideas and research into their practice as well as further the discussion of best practices to curtail the rapid growth of cancer cases that may lead to quality care of patients.

India is a leading player in medical tourism ? Where exactly does oncology picture in this scenario ?
ICC will strengthen and establish the fact that India is an emerging leader in health care. If you compare our health infrastructure in Metro cities, it can be compared with the best in the world. Same treatment, at times superior doctors but at a much cheaper price. A lot of patients come from the SAARC nations, Africa and other nations.

Will this oncology forum be a regular feature?
Oncology forum is a registered body and we have resolved to meet periodically. We intend to set up permanent ICC office till the next conference. The ICC is planned to be a four yearly event.

How will ICC impact cancer patients in India?
We expect to come up with national guidelines leading to better care, cheaper alternatives and cost effective options. There will be all a round efforts to create more awareness with focus on prevention and screening. This awareness is not confined to patients but it includes general population, primary and secondary doctors and even oncologist.
There will be workshops and sessions for young onco surgeons to enhance their skills, master tips and tricks from the experienced hands in all specialities. There will emphasis on established procedures as well as emerging techniques like robotic surgery, laser, minimally invasive surgery, skull base surgery, etc. Budding radiation oncologists will get a chance to brush up with evolving and emerging technologies like Cyber Knife, Gamma Knife, High End Linacs, etc. all this will be helpful only when one has undergone the right kind of training.
Ultimately, the patients will be the main beneficiaries.

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