Asian Cancer Institute brings Oncologists from different parts to treat Cancer
The CEO Magazine ● Mumbai
Cancer is fast turning into an epidemic in India. More than 1,300 persons die of cancer every day in the country and over 10.5 lakhs get afflicted by this deadly disease, 3 times as much survive while receiving treatment at any given time. A large number of patients never reach diagnosis, under-diagnosed or die and their deaths as due to this disease are not registered. An IARC study shows highest global mortality due to lung cancer, while the incidence of breast cancer is rapidly increasing. Doctors attribute all this to tobacco consumption, rising pollution levels, faulty diets, low socio-economic status with inability to reach medical care, fear, ignorance, misconceptions, acute shortage of oncologists, surgical oncologists and radio-therapists, and poor medical care.
Asian Cancer Institute, which laid its foundation in 2002 to ensure seamless diagnosis and treatment to all its patients, is unique in its conceptualization, implementation and management by eminent oncologists, who best know the needs of the patients. This is unlike any other hospital management team. This group of specialists, who raised the standards of healthcare in the 1990s and 2000 at the world famous Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, have brought their expertise to plan, establish and manage Asian Cancer Institute.
Asian Cancer Institute ( ACI ) formerly known as Asian Institute of Oncology – a dream project of leading Oncology Consultants of the country, came into existence in June 2002 at the Wellspring Clinic Piramal Complex, Parel initially as a day care center and was then shifted to S.L. Raheja Hospital, Mahim, Mumbai in October 2002 with addition of in-patient with surgical facilities and subsequently to Somaiya Ayurvihar, Sion, Mumbai in 2013 with expansion of facilities to its current level and size in collaboration with the house of Somaiya. This initiative by the country’s best-known names in oncology, strives to strengthen the three pillars of excellence in – “cancer care, research and education” further supported by departments of Cancer prevention and rehabilitation. The Collaborative effort resulting in Somaiya Ayurvihar – Asian Cancer Institute in 2013 was the realization of a dream both for the group of leading Cancer Consultants to establish a world class Cancer Care Institute and for the Somaiya Trust in realizing the dream of bringing excellence as seen by its founders- Padmabhushan Karamsibhai .J.Somaiya and late Dr. Shantilal Somaiya and now Shri Samir Somaiya.
The first phase of 80 bedded Asian Cancer Institute, situated at Somaiya Ayurvihar in Sion, is the new address for excellence in cancer care in Mumbai. Over the last two and half years over 2800 major cancer surgeries- including over 150 Robotic procedures and more than 4500 Chemotherapy procedures have been completed within the registered population of over 12,500 new cancer patients. The basic and clinical research protocols are strictly conducted in accordance with international ethical and scientific norms. The Institute conducts regular teaching training, and educational programs and events for population at large, both technical and professionals in Oncology for undergraduates, and postgraduate, nursing staff, lay people as well as continuing medical educational programs. ACI has counted over twelve thousand and five hundred registered patients for cancer care within three years of its new center at SA- ACI. The institute is poised to become the nucleus for cancer care by offering its services to all categories of patients, and by collaborating with government and private institutions, in India and adjacent countries. Backed by two hundred employees and a competent operations team, ACI offers comprehensive cancer care in endoscopy, diagnostics laboratory, day care, Operation Theatres, Intensive care, in patient services, preventive checkups, rehabilitation dept., counseling etc. Soon this establishment will se itself expand into a 200+ bedded second phase with addition of radiation therapy and other facilities.
Asian Cancer Institute [ACI] is now extending its expertise in comprehensive cancer care across the country , each center being be supported by the local cancer specialists with their expertise being reinforced by professional help from the Mumbai Center either in person by regular visits or through continuing telemedicine . In the eastern part of the country ACI in collaboration with the well reputed AMRI hospitals limited formed AMRI-ACI in Bhubaneshwar for providing quality cancer care as per the standards that prevail at par with ACI, Mumbai. Through this collaboration, a new synergy will be created in medical students of Orissa through their exposure to the best interventions in cancer care.
The Asian Cancer Institute is committed to improve its reach to people at large through the Hub and spoke model. Towards social commitment, the Institute implements the innovative Dr Pendharkar- Asian Cancer Institute rural cancer model wherein, in collaboration with state governments, the district medical officers are deputed for periods varying from 2-12 weeks at the ACI designated training centers wherein they are trained in diagnosis, planning of treatment, chemotherapy administration and patient coordination methods. Day care facilities are developed at their District centers with the help of the state Governments. The trained medical officers on their return, approach the population of their district identifying cancer patients, sending their details to the central cell where the ACI consultant- Dr Pendharkar and his team diagnose the condition, plan the treatment and send the advice back. The chemotherapy is administered at the newly established day care centers, the chemotherapy medications being provided free of cost by the state Governments, surgeries are performed by enrolling the help of local consultants and radiation administered in nearby radiation centers with which the district officers coordinate. Thus care is taken to the home level of rural patients who probably would never have reached a health center. This scheme is functioning in states of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and part of Orissa for the past over 2 years, over 12000 patients having taken the benefit of the scheme. Asian cancer Institute does not draw any revenue from this effort and serves this as a social cause.
Towards the rural and urban affording population, Asian Cancer Institute has collaborated with Hallo Health in establishing Smart Cancer centers [which serve as the spokes] at various locations – starting from Lucknow- wherein a basic diagnostic facility center, pharmacy, and day care center is established where people can approach and receive the benefit of the top class care of the ACI consultants through telemedicine as well as care of the local consultant specialized in this filed. All the quality services are provided at all the centers at affordable cost.
The dynamic team of consultants and management professionals at the Asian Cancer Institute is led by Dr Ramakant Deshpande- a graduate of the Karnataka Medical College Hubli- a government institution. After serving the Tata Hospital for over two decades when our entire team withdrew from the Tata Hospital, though we were working as a team in private sector, we grew unhappy very rapidly due to inability to be in a clinically research mode, undertake teaching or transmission of our abilities to juniors in an entirely private setup or even to offer care to the financially challenged section of the. Society- says Dr Deshpande. Through discussions and deliberations within the group we realized that we will need to create infrastructure in the form of an Institute of excellence ourselves – he said. That led to the birth of the Asian Cancer Institute. To maintain its direction towards its goal, all the shareholders of ACI continue to be Cancer Treatment professionals investing their money as well as time. Noted Surgical Oncologists of the country like Padmabhushan Dr S.H.Advani, Dr. D M Parikh, Dr R Gopal, Dr Jagdeesh Kulkarni and Dr Sanjay Sharma are the Directors, whereas Padma Shree Ramakant Deshpande has been serving this hospital as Executive Vice Chairman since its inception. Despite being a very busy Thoracic and Pediatric Cancer surgeon, he finds time to steward the medical center with its internationally known Cancer Consultants in the proper direction to evolve into a sustainable and scalable model offering world class cancer care to all at affordable cost. With its multipronged activities it is an Institution which truly generates hopes.