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Making Expert Cancer Care Accessible

Cancer Patients can get cases reviewed by renowned experts without leaving their homes

10-year-old Uday Nair from Bangalore complained to his dad about pain near his spine. A similar pain on the same spot had occurred a year ago as well, but the doctors had not found anything abnormal in the X-rays. However, this time around they found a lump, which on observation for four months had increased in size. Around this time Uday started experiencing intense pain, which constantly increased with every passing day making it impossible for Uday to even stand for a few minutes. The next few weeks were the most difficult days for the entire family. Uday had to undergo several radiological scans and the family was shutting between diagnostic centres, laboratories, and the hospital.  Doctors decided to surgically remove the lump.  A surgery was done post his MRI report and the specimen of lumbar lesion was sent for biopsy. Pathological slides were sent to a reputable lab for Immunochemistry tests, and the pathology report suggested Wilms Tumor. Accordingly, his treatment started in a cancer hospital in Bangalore.

To be doubly sure, Uday’s father decided to get another pathology review of the cancerous lesion, but this time the pathology reports suggested the diagnosis of Biphasic Synovial Sarcoma. This led to a traumatic mental phase not only the parents but also for the treating doctors, who were uncertain whether the cancer treatment plan should be for Wilm’s Tumor or Synovial Sarcoma.

An expert opinion became extremely imminent at this stage and as the next obvious step, Uday’s father decided to go to Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai. However, travelling at this time was not easy, leaving Uday and the family behind, amid the rising anxiety. In his internet search, he came across Tata Memorial Centre Online – Navya Expert Opinion Service at www.navya.care , to get the advice of world-renowned experts, online.

Navya, a Bangalore-based clinical informatics company, founded in collaboration with Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) and National Cancer Grid (NCG), provides online expert opinions to cancer patients. This service allows patients to upload their reports and get a response from world renowned experts within 24 hours. To ensure that the treatment plan is comprehensive, Navya processes the case of every cancer patient by incorporating multidisciplinary expert opinions of several experts from Tata Memorial Centre and National Cancer Grid, a consortium of expert centers in India like AIIMS, Adyar, Max, etc. Anyone can register on Navya.Care and receive an expert opinion from the comfort of their home.

Gitika Srivastava, Founder of Navya, says: “Most people who have had any experience with cancer are aware that it can be stressful to ensure the best way forward. It’s not always possible to gain access to the cancer experts who are renowned in your specific type of cancer or treatment type. Sometimes, there are only a handful of such experts with the specific experience and you want to reach them to ensure that you are receiving the expert treatment plan.  With Navya, you can be assured that the opinion rests on the experience of world-renowned cancer experts collaborating for the best possible treatment plan suited to your loved one’s case. This is critically important as cancer decisions are complex and often involve several organs and types of treatments.”

Navya’s patented system uses clinical informatics, predictive analytics and machine learning. Navya learns from evidence, prior tumor board decisions and quick review from expert oncologists to recommend tailored treatment plans to patients at all levels of affordability.

“Cutting through boundaries and making expert cancer care accessible to one and all is TMC’s constant aim, and with Navya we achieve this,” says Padma Shri Dr. Rajendra Badwe, Director of Tata Memorial Centre.

“Treating oncologists at small and large centers can consult with specialist colleagues online in a simulated tumor board that results in expert treatment decisions for patients everywhere,” adds Dr. CS Pramesh, Coordinator of National Cancer Grid, a consortium of over 160 cancer centers with the government mandate to standardize expert cancer care across the country.

At world renowned cancer centers, all cases are reviewed by a tumor board of cancer experts who jointly arrive at a treatment decision. The intent is to recommend a path that will provide a complete cure or extend years of cancer free survival or improve quality of life. Having all relevant specialists weigh in and review the case is the ideal scenario but this is unfortunately not the modus operandi at most hospitals. By leveraging its patented technology and collaboration with the best cancer experts in the country, this is possible through TMC NCG Online – Navya Expert Opinion Service at www.navya.care

“An expert opinion on cancer treatment, especially when available quick and early in the treatment process, can significantly improve the health outcome. Many cancers are curable or can be managed for a number of years if diagnosed early and treated appropriately. Also, there are patients hailing from remote parts of the country who would require a second opinion and travelling to various expert cancer centres requires time, effort and energy. Sometimes a patient is not in a position to travel that far. With a second opinion by experts, patients can avoid sub-optimal or over treatments and know the right line of treatment”, added Gitika.

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