Dr. Ashok Kumar Vaid is the Chairman of Medical and Haemato Oncology at Madanta Hospital. He is a Medical Oncologist by profession. He has been treating a variety of cancers at Medanta from the past 10 years. He takes care of a wide spectrum of cancers with a huge team of experts, including the diagnosticians, pathologists, radiologists and many other professionals, from other cross-specialities.
We are thankful to Dr. Ashok Kumar Vaid for answering a few of our questions and addressing our concerns. So without any delay, let’s see what Dr. Vaid said in the interview:
Ques 1. What are the common types of blood cancer and what types of treatments are available to the patients?
If you look at the different types of blood cancers, the spectrum is different among children and adults. But principally blood cancer is the type of cancer which arise from the bone marrow. We can understand them as leukaemias, both acute and chronic.
The acute Leukaemia sets in very quickly and develops very fast. Whereas, chronic leukaemias develop over time. We can find chronic leukaemias in adulthood. Generally, children do not suffer from leukaemias. Other cancers which arise from the bone marrow are multiple myeloma and certain types of lymphomas. Lymphomas are thought to be the disease of the lymph glands. But actually, they fall under the category of the haemato lymphoid malignancies.
Apart from that, children have certain types of lymphomas which involve bucket lymphomas. Both adults and children may have this type of cancer. So the spectrum is quite large in itself because every leukaemia has certain sup types.
The lymphomas have 15-20 subtypes, but at Medanta Hospital, doctors treat about half a dozen. Apart from the cancerous disorder of the blood, Medanta Hospital also treats non-cancerous blood disorder like Aplastic anaemia, sickle cell anaemia and more.
Also, read about: Blood Cancer Symptoms, Causes, Types and Treatment
Ques 2. India ranks at number three in the world for the highest number of haematological cancer patients. What do you think are the chief causes of this massive number?
Talking about the causes, there is no single cause of different blood cancers. There are different reasons which include some theories. Researchers tried to understand the causes and succeded, but still, there are some causes which need deep research.
The reason behind this is that there is no single causative agent. There are certain types of viruses which are responsible for such life-threatening diseases. But leukaemias and lymphomas are not lifestyle disorder. Many other factors are linked to the causation of leukaemias and lymphomas such as environmental exposure, exposure to chemicals and exposure to certain types of radiations.
So basically there is no single cause responsible for blood cancers. As we know tobacco causes mouth or tongue cancer, but there is no definite cause for blood cancer.
Ques 3. Data from Indian Medical Research Institute shows that innovations in public health and medicine and improved diagnostics have led to a statistical increase in cancer burden in India. Concerning blood cancers, do you think the Indian healthcare sector is ready to deal with the increasing numbers of patients? What challenges lie ahead in the treatment of blood cancers?
Yes, if we look at the increasing statistics of the cancer cases in India, there are about 1.7 millions new cancer patients diagnosed with cancer every year. This number is large enough for a country like India where the resources are less.
According to me, the facilities available in India for the treatment of these increasing number of cases do not match. We need to increase the number of treatment facilities to provide proper treatment. By facilities, we mean the number of cancer centres, the number of radiation machines, the oncology units and the transplant units. All these facilities need to improve to cope up with the current scenario.
However, whatever facilities are available in our country, both in public as well as the private sector, meets the international standards of healthcare. Oncology experts are delivering the best possible care to cancer patients.
Ques 4. Indian states struggle to meet the demand for blood units despite increasing awareness of donation. What measures can be taken to address the dearth of blood units?
The public needs to answer this question. Ask yourselves. How many times do we go to the blood donation camps to donate blood?
Each one of us above the age of 17 years must donate blood. Not because of any reason or cause, but because it is a good thing to do. Then only will the supply of blood and blood products increase and would be readily available for the patients at the time of treatment.
Ques 5. What technological innovations has this field seen? What benefits do they add in the treatment?
“According to new research, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help in the detection of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) with higher reliability.”
The technology is becoming more and more advanced these days. This helps healthcare professionals to diagnose the disorder much better. For example, if we talk about blood cancer, acute leukaemia is not a single disorder, it’s a group of diseases.
Based on the technological advances in the molecular understanding of these diseases, the doctors pick up the drugs. This means, with the help of advanced technology, professionals can pick up the right medicines and choose the right treatment plan for a specific type of cancer.
About The Doctor
Dr Ashok Kumar Vaid is a well trained and well experienced Medical Oncologist and Chairman of Medical and Haemato Oncology at Medanta -The Medicity, Gurgaon. He has a rich experience of 31 years in this field. Performing the first 25 Bone Marrow transplantations in the private sector in North India is his biggest achievement.
He has completed his MBBS in general physician from the University of Jammu in 1984, MD in general medicine in 1989 and DM in Medical Oncology in 1993.
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