We aim to eliminate fear of cancer, says Dr Sumit Shah, surgical oncologist
Dr Sumit Shah, a surgical oncologist from small village named Pimpalner of Solapur district has been awarded by the National Health and Family Welfare Ministry for his work towards spreading awareness regarding cancer. The award was presented on August 1. Shah provides free outpatient department services for patients every week for the last five years and has operated on at least 500 patients for free. Dr Shah who runs a cancer centre named Prolife, and visits Ruby Hall Clinic and Sahyadri Hospital speaks to HT about how cancer can be treated if detected early.
What prompted you to start free services as cancer treatment is expensive?
It is true, that cancer when detected, is financially draining and burdening for the patient. The treatment costs are very high and many delay their treatment or avoid it due to expensive surgery costs. However, there are government schemes that allow a patient to undergo the surgery and have a chance at improving quality of life. All the free surgeries that I have done are for patients from rural Maharashtra.
You received the national award for excellency in health, 2019.
I was nominated and selected for the work I am doing regarding cancer. I started conducting camps initially along with lectures in colleges for free. I also conduct free tobacco de-addiction camps and so far I have conducted at least 500 in Pune, Baramati, Koregaon, Satara and Solapur. The importance of this work is to involve as many surgeons as possible and help the country have better treatment for cancer. We aim to eliminate the fear of cancer in people. Looking at my extensive work, I was chosen and awarded the national award for excellency in health, 2019 in Delhi, on August 1.
What are the recent advancements and new techniques in cancer treatment?
Earlier, surgeons believed to remove as much affected body mass as possible leaving the patient scarred. Now there is a new technology which allows us to only treat the particular organ and help the patient save his jawline or the body part. In oral cancers, many patients were left with distorted face, no tongue or a lost mandible, now we are making laparoscopic keyhole onco surgery possible for such patients who can have quality of life and their jaws and mouths can be saved.