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Prof GK Rath

Renowned Oncologist, Professor GK Rath, Advocates Early Cancer Treatment and Prevention

The escalating prevalence of various types of cancers has emerged as a significant cause for concern. Particularly alarming is the trend of individuals presenting at advanced stages of the disease, where curative interventions become increasingly challenging.

In light of this pressing issue, Rohit Shishodia, a correspondent for Drug Today Medical Times, engaged in a conversation with Professor GK Rath. 

Professor GK Rath, also known as Dr. Goura Kishor Rath, is a distinguished oncologist renowned for his contributions to cancer research and treatment in India. He has played a pivotal role in advancing cancer care and has garnered recognition for his expertise and leadership in the field.

As the former head of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Jhajjhar, Haryana, India, Professor Rath has led initiatives aimed at improving cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Under his guidance, the NCI has emerged as a premier institution for cancer care, research, and education in the country.

Professor Rath's work encompasses various aspects of oncology, including clinical practice, academic research, and advocacy. He has conducted extensive research on cancer epidemiology, risk factors, and treatment outcomes, contributing valuable insights to the scientific community.

In addition to his roles at the National Cancer Institute, Professor Rath is actively involved in medical education and training. He is known for his commitment to mentoring the next generation of oncologists and fostering collaboration among healthcare professionals to enhance cancer care delivery.

Throughout his career, Professor Rath has received numerous accolades and awards for his contributions to oncology. His dedication to advancing cancer research and improving patient outcomes has earned him widespread respect and admiration within the medical community.

Overall, Professor GK Rath's pioneering work in oncology has had a profound impact on cancer care in India, making him a prominent figure in the fight against cancer.

Professor Rath underscores the critical importance of seeking early treatment, emphasizing that it has the potential to prevent up to 80% of cancer cases.

DTMT: The name "cancer" itself instills fear in many, often evoking thoughts of impending doom. What's your take on this perception?

Prof Rath: Send those individuals to me. Cancer isn't as ominous as it's made out to be. Fifty percent of cancer cases are treatable. Unlike diabetes or uncontrolled blood pressure, cancer is curable. We shouldn't fear it; instead, we should instill fear in it. Just look at Yuvraj Singh and Manisha Koirala—they've overcome cancer. And personally, I've treated around two lakh patients who've successfully recovered from cancer. The only hurdle is awareness and timely treatment. Shockingly, I've learned that 99% of girls haven't taken the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

DTMT: What are the immediate symptoms indicative of any cancer?

Prof Rath: The appearance of a lump in any part of the body, including the cheek, throat, or abdomen, along with abnormal bleeding, can be warning signs of cancer. Additionally, bleeding in women outside of their menstrual cycle, persistent coughing and bowel issues, as well as swelling in any part of the body, can indicate a potential cancerous condition. If patients present with these symptoms promptly, we can prevent 99% of cancers.

DTMT: Your emphasis on early detection is crucial. How can cancer be prevented?

Prof Rath: There are several preventive measures individuals can take, but quitting tobacco is paramount in preventing oral cancer, which is one of the most common forms. Forty percent of cancers are attributed to tobacco use, whether smoked or smokeless. Additionally, around 30% of cancers can be prevented by receiving the HPV vaccine.

DTMT: There's a lot of buzz surrounding Car T Cell therapy, hailed as a major breakthrough in tackling blood cancer.

Prof Rath: It's premature to gauge its effectiveness. Only one or two patients have undergone treatment.

DTMT: What are the latest advancements in cancer management?

Prof Rath: There are numerous recent advancements, including bone marrow transplants, surgical robots, and various radiation machines. Fifty percent of cancers are treatable, and the remaining 50% are preventable.

DTMT: What's your message to our readers?

Prof Rath: My message is simple: if anyone notices any unusual lumps, they should seek medical attention early. Additionally, it's crucial to ensure girls receive vaccination against cervical cancer. Unfortunately, these recommendations are often overlooked by many.

DTMT: Affordable cancer care remains a significant concern for the common man. What are your thoughts on this?

Prof Rath: Individuals should consider seeking care at government facilities where services are on par with private setups. There have been substantial advancements in infrastructure, including the installation of state-of-the-art machines and an increase in the number of beds. Just as you can have a cup of tea for Rs 10, the same tea might cost Rs 500 at a five-star hotel. Why opt for the latter? Come to AIIMS, where everyone is treated regardless of their financial status.

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