It is remarkable that more cancer centres have emerged and more oncologists trained in the first fifteen years of this century than in the last 100 years. This is a good sign and indicative of things to come. Inspite of this rapid pace of development, my fear is that as a nation we are almost hundred years behind the desired state in cancer care.
We would be able to achieve this state only when:
We are able to provide to every citizen, comprehensive care from prevention to palliation.
Each and every subspecialty of oncology is catered by professional teams focussed in that area of work. We are able to collect data from every patient and put it to good scientific use. We are able to recruit every patient in some form of study so as to keep learning and finding solutions to our own problems.
We are able to provide, adequate emotional and social support to our patients and their care givers. Connect with the global oncology community and participate in the empowerment of all stake holders.
However, I also believe that if we use Information Technology to its fullest, and, create opportunities for our young oncology force, we would cover this distance in one fourth the time i.e. in 25 years and the good news is that both these things are bound to happen. Looking at the trends of last two decades, I don’t think money will be a limiting factor in making these goals possible. However, leadership will be continuously challenged, and, we will move on to a much better world of care. The changing demographics, the evolving research scenario providing new treatment strategies demand much more from professionals today. The need to collaborate, listen to all stakeholders and to be part of a big stage is much more important. Today, soft skills of professionals will be at equal platform to the hard core professional knowledge, skill, ability to keep up etc.
To say the least, these are exciting times!
What we do need today is a good framework – structure which will stand the test of times. Fortunately most of our national programs are moving in the right direction though the pace may be less than expected. I particularly want to mention about the upcoming National Cancer Institutes, Tertiary Cancer Centres, Oncology in all medical Colleges, National Cancer Grid (NCG), NCCP, NCRP, NCDCP, Tobacco Control prog. As expected in private sector also, several players are putting in more bets on cancer care and research. Finally all these services will create the right balance for optimal delivery.
In such an environment, we at ISO have more responsibility than ever before to liaison with the government agencies and become the voice of the professionals. Being so close to the ground and responsible for the patients journey, we are best suited to bring in the perspective to guide this complex path. We also need to collaborate with international associations, and be part of the large international community. This will work as catalyst for education and research. We could also bring in better learning modules, and other opportunities to gather information and skills. To ensure that our professional colleagues are part of a healthy milieu, we create for them opportunities for collaboration. All this is possible with good intent, lot of effort and use of IT power.
The ISO in true spirit of leading the oncology community towards a greater collaborative spirit, presented to the world the first Indian Cancer Congress, we worked closely with the four host organisations, and brought on board 25 oncology associations. ICC was recognized as one of the most powerful expressions of the cancer work in our country. As we are getting ready for the Second Indian Cancer Congress at Bangalore under the leadership of AROI, I will urge each one of you to put your best foot forward, and bring together 15000+ professionals together in 2017!
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