New Delhi, January 11, 2019: After heart disease, cancer is considered the second biggest cause of death in India. Further, India accounted for as much as 8.17 percent of cancer related deaths in 2018. It is estimated that by 2020, there will be around 8.8 lakh deaths due to various types of cancers in the country and this number is expected to double by 2030. These startling numbers is forcing institutions and experts fighting the disease to look beyond the traditional cancer treatments and explore innovative therapies like immuno-oncology. Dr. Ajit Saxena further elaborated on the benefits associated with immunotherapy for cancer treatment at a press briefing organized by Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals today.
Dr. Saxena is a Senior Consultant, Urology at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi. He spoke about the major disadvantages related to conventional cancer treatments, “Traditionally, chemotherapy is used to treat cancer, especially at an advanced stage. However, the major disadvantage of this treatment method is its inability to discriminate between healthy and cancerous cells, due to which many healthy cells of the body are also lost. The immune system of the body which is already weakened due to cancer becomes even weaker.”
Dr. Manish Singhal who is a senior consultant oncologist at Apollo Hospitals, Noida, highlighted the role immunotherapy can play to bridge this gap, “Immunology, especially immuno-oncology, is being hailed as the next revolution in the field of cancer treatment. Our immune cells help our body fight off the malignant cancer cells, so if a person’s immunity is boosted enough then it becomes easier for the body to fight off the disease. Many people have benefitted from immuno-oncology treatment methods. Credited with various successes, immune booster therapy is tailor-made for each individual. Strengthened immune cells specifically target and eliminate cancerous cells, without harming the healthy cells of the body. Not only does it reduce the chances of remission, but it also removes the debilitating side-effects which are generally associated with the traditional cancer treatments.”
Dr. Saxena further explained that it is important that doctors are not only aware about the research being done in the field of immunotherapy, but that they implement the various successful therapies while treating their patients, “It is because of the advantages associated with immuno-oncology that it has become the talk of the town. Immuno-oncology is an exciting new area of cancer treatment which looks into innovative techniques to utilise the potential of one’s own immune system to tackle even advanced stage of the disease. Researchers and doctors worldwide are exploring various aspects of this field with varying degrees of success. It is important that every doctor who deals with advanced stage cancer patients today is aware about the benefits of immuno-oncology. It is the future of oncology and the aim of this conference is to spread awareness about this innovative treatment method, not just within the public but also within the medical community.”