Latest innovations in cancer care

Personalised medicine and technological innovations are key to cancer care. Dr Trinanjan Basu, Consultant Radiation Oncologist, HCG Cancer Centre Mumbai, gives an insight

Technology and digital innovations are rapidly changing the management strategies in cancer care. Witnessing more than one million new cases as per GLOBOCAN 2020, India stands at the blink of the cancer epidemic. Fortunately, innovations in cancer diagnostics and treatment are re-shaping the way this dreaded disease has been managed. Right from improvised diagnosis (in imaging and pathology) to early detection and treatment and state of the art surgical, medical and radiation techniques. Most cancer patients require these steps in their journey sequentially or at some point. It is important to be aware and take the help for the right treatment at right time.


Medical imaging integrating artificial intelligence, digital pathology and genomic laboratory, robotic surgery for advanced cancer surgery, immunotherapy and newer generations of biological agents and advanced radiotherapy delivering machines like Versa HD, Tomotherapy and Cyberknife are all integral to this cancer care pathway in 2022. However, the key to the optimal application of all the above remains multidisciplinary tumour board discussions. We must remember any technological and digital innovations need well trained qualified individuals managing cancer care and the collective opinion can only guide cancer patients and their family members for the right decision. 

Let us understand the innovations and their role in cancer care through an example. A middle-aged fit individual, working with family responsibilities gets diagnosed with an ulcer over tonsil, after an initial non-healing course with a local physician he decides to take advanced opinion from HCG. The case has been investigated in detail with advanced lab incorporating not only routine biopsy to prove cancer but also HPV status and other genomic markers to predict the outcome, biological imaging like PETCT and then radiomics and radio-genomics to predict the outcome. 

The multi-disciplinary tumour board compromising of head neck robotic surgeon and radiation oncologist shares their opinion between advanced robotic surgery technique to remove tumour yet preserve swallowing and other important functions versus advanced radiation techniques like VMAT to control disease and preserve the quality of life. If a patient decides on radiotherapy, then a medical oncologist also consults for targeted agents of biological agents with radiation to improve radiation effect and control the micro-metastatic disease. The issues on speech, swallowing, psychological support and other personal concerns are also taken care of by respective specialists. This truly an example of personalised medicine and technological innovations is meant to provide the same in the coming era for cancer care. 

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