It is important for doctors to consider the long-term impact of medication on the patient, according to Dr Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra, head of the department at Global Cancer Institute.
He was speaking on the topic ‘Emerging Trends in Medical Oncology’ during the Global Oncology Update organised by the Global Cancer Institute in Chennai recently. The long-term impact of the toxicity on the patient has to be considered when one takes to the medication, said the doctor.
Narrating earlier cases where cancer treatment led to a misshaped jaw for a man and shorter height for a 16-year-old, the doctor also said that care must be taken to look at such after-effects. New technology has now made it possible to provide localised targeted treatments, he said.
“Now it is possible to diagnose the tumour, its metabolic activity, the progression of the disease and recommend localised treatments that can be more efficient and also reduce toxicity,” he added. The acceptance of chemotherapy over surgery in the treatment of cancer is better today and has made the retaining of organs possible, he said.
“Fields dealing with diagnosis like radiology, which were never taken up by doctors, have now become a sought-after field,” he said.
In terms of advanced stage treatment of cancer too, there has been considerable advancement over the years. “Some 20 years ago, advanced stage patients were often not taken in for treatment. But today, even at stages where it is not possible for the patient to recover, there are treatments that will help improve the quality of life and help the patient live for years,” he said.
But the doctor emphasised the need for early diagnosis. He said that when it came to cases like lung cancer, physicians often failed to recognise the cancer symptoms and put them on medication for tuberculosis.
“Though TB is a common disease in the country, physicians must also keep the possibility of cancer in mind when patients come to them with symptoms like prolonged cough,” he said.