Doctors from 85 cancer centres across India gathered at the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) on Wednesday to discuss new initiatives to be undertaken by centres linked under the national cancer grid. The national cancer grid was set up in 2012 to link all cancer centres in India to create uniform treatment protocol for patients.
Experts said that such a link between centres is likely to lessen the burden on TMH, where patients from every corner of the country come for treatment. “Of the 38,000 new patients registered at TMH, only 25% are from Maharashtra, while 75% of the patients come to Mumbai from other states,” said Dr CS Pramesh, head of thoracic surgery at TMH.
At the convention, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), inaugurated an open access website on which the draft guidelines on uniform standards for cancer care are uploaded. “For the next three months, the guidelines will be open for review. Doctors can send in their recommendations before they are finalised,” said Dr Pramesh.
During the meeting, it was decided that every cancer centre that is a part of the grid will have one palliative care unit, said doctors. Palliative care focuses on managing the symptoms related to the side-effects of treatment. “There is a need to upgrade the palliative care set up at the grassroots level. Besides, it does not require many experts to run it,” said Dr Pramesh.
Doctors will also start a travel school for pathology in the north east, where many rare types of cancers are prevalent, said Dr Rajendra Badwe, director, TMH.