Dr Natarajan was invited to launch The Geriatric Oncology Centre in the presence of freedom fighter Lakshmi Kanthan Bharathi IAS (R) and Prof Dr S Jagadesh Chandra Bose, HOD and Senior Consultant Surgical Oncologist, VS Hospitals. The launch event also marked the presence of Prof Dr S Subramanian, Prof Dr S Sundar, Senior Consultant Joint Replacement & Tumour Surgeon and Medical Director, VS Group of Hospitals and Muthu Subramanian, Executive Director, VS Group of Hospitals.
Prof Dr Subramanian added “Our geriatric oncology centre is one of the first dedicated centres in India exclusively for geriatric cancer care set up with the mission to provide personalised care for older people who suffer from various forms of cancers. Our comprehensive geriatric assessment provides a detailed evaluation of medical, psychosocial, and functional problems in older patients with cancer. It can identify areas of vulnerability, predict toxicity and survival, assist in clinical decision-making, guide the development of individualised treatment plans, improve provider-patient communication and predict treatment completion.”
Prof Dr Bose highlighted about cancer being the leading cause of death in India and the failure in proper diagnosis of several types of cancers. He added “According to a report of National Cancer Registry Programme 2020, India’s cancer cases could increase by 12 per cent in the next five years, with 1.5 million people projected to suffer from the non-communicable disease by 2025. Sedentary lifestyles, increase in urban pollution, in addition to rise in obesity, tobacco and alcohol consumption are the reasons behind the rise.”
Dr Natarajan spoke at the event about the challenges of having older cancer patients. He added “These patients are often frail, have comorbidities, are on multiple medications, and may have social, economic, and psychological problems. Many times, older patients with cancer are not considered for a curative treatment approach, despite the tumour being amenable to radical treatment, just by virtue of their age. When these patients are treated with chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery, they may experience more toxicity and higher chance of morbidity and mortality. Many of the landmark clinical trials have excluded geriatric oncology patients, making evidence based management decisions in this patient population even more difficult.”