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As part of its mandate to provide trained and qualified human resource in the field of oncology and its related fields, Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), a comprehensive cancer centre with a mission of service, education and research, is set to launch two super specialty courses in oncology and radiology—Doctorate in Medicine (DM) in Intervention Radiology and DM in Oncopathology over a span of two years.

TMH had proposed to start DM in Intervention Radiology two years back which was well conceived by Medical Council of India (MCI). If approved, the course will start in August 2017 with intake capacity of 2-3 students. The course duration will span over three years. Besides this, the hospital had also proposed to start three-year DM in Oncopathology six months back. The proposal is under consideration of MCI. The course is likely to be approved by MCI in three months and will start in August 2018. It has been approved by academic committee and post graduate committee of MCI, informed Dr Kailash Sharma, Director, Academics, TMH.

Talking about the aim behind the launch of the two super specialty courses, Dr Sharma, who was member Board of Governors and Presently GOI Nominee on PG and Super Speciality Committee, MCI, New Delhi, said “We have decided to start two super specialty courses in oncology– DM in Intervention Radiology and DM in Oncopathology with an aim to provide specialized training to radiologists and pathologists involved in cancer care to ensure quality care for patients.”

Appropriate treatment of cancer is dependent on a timely definitive diagnosis and on accurate staging of disease. While non-invasive imaging techniques have improved assessment and staging for cancer, histologic confirmation remains the gold standard for definitive diagnosis of many tumours. Biopsies to establish histological diagnosis are increasingly performed using Intervention Radiological Technique by trained and qualified radiologist. pathologists are also part of the patient’s cancer care team. They work to diagnose and determine the stage of cancer. They study the tumour’s molecular structure to determine whether it is likely to be sensitive to certain chemotherapy drugs, hormone treatments or other cancer therapies. Considering the specialized nature of work performed by radiologists and pathologists in oncology management, the proposed super specialty courses will equip them with required skills and training to improve outcome of cancer treatment. Tata Hospital offers fellowships and  other training programmes to practising pathologist from the country, he said.

On completion of the courses, candidates have a tremendous opportunity at cancer centres and corporate hospitals in the country. Besides this, they have a huge scope at upcoming cancer hospitals of TMH. 250-bed treatment centres will be set up by TMH in Varanasi, Chandigarh, Guwahati, and Visakhapatnam.

The hospital is also mulling over a plan to start DM in Onco Anesthesia and Pain. More than 50 per cent of country’s oncologists are the product of Tata hospital. Oncologists from Sub Saharan, African, UK, USA, South Asia, Gulf countries also get hands on training at the hospital which helps them ensure quality cancer care in their respective countries.

TMH witnesses more than 60,000 new cancer cases every year and 6-7 lakh follow up cases from across India and neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Gulf countries annually. With the mission of education, Tata Hospital is a standalone post graduate institute catering to broad specialty and super specialty courses in the field of oncology.

The premier cancer hospital conducts a slew of post graduate courses viz. MD in Anesthesia, MD in Radiology, MD in Pathology, MD in Microbiology and MD in Blood Transfusion Medicine. TMH started three-year MD in Palliative Medicine course in 2012 in broad specialty category. Considering surge in head and neck oncology cases, it started MCH in head and neck oncology in 2013 followed by MCH in gynec-oncology. Paediatric oncology is highly specialised branch. 80-90 per cent of paediatric cancers viz. leukaemia, lymphoma, if treated properly is curable. The hospital launched DM in Paediatric Oncology in 2013.

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