Published on: April 21, 2023

The National Roundtable Conference on Oncology organised by ECHO India was held on April 5, 2023 in New Delhi, India to discuss various topics related to cancer control and Reimagining New Horizons in Improving Cancer Care in the country. The summit was initiated by Dr. Haresh Chandwani (GM, ECHO India) with keynote speaker being Dr. Sudarshan Mandal (Director NCD, MoHFW). The speakers in the summit also included Dr. (Col) Kumud Rai (Chairman, ECHO India), Dr. Sandeep Bhalla (Associate Vice President, ECHO India) and representatives from various civil society organisations. 

Pallium India was represented by Dr. Sreedevi Warrier (please see image) in various panel discussions. Dr. Deepak Sudhakaran from Trivandrum along with Dr Preeti Chauhan from Delhi office of Pallium India were also in attendance. 

A myriad of experts from various fields discussed and brainstormed ways to improve the access and quality of cancer care in India. The summit also aimed to address the barriers and gaps that exist in the current cancer care landscape.

One of the key themes that emerged from the summit was the need for a holistic approach in cancer care. The experts emphasised the importance of treating not just the physical ailment, but also addressing the psychological and emotional aspects of cancer patients. This can be achieved through measures such as counselling, support groups, and other forms of psychological support.

The summit also focused on cancers of clinical importance and identified new avenues for research and treatment. The experts emphasised the need for precision medicine and targeted therapies in cancer treatment. This involves tailoring treatment to the unique genetic makeup of a patient’s tumour, which can result in better outcomes and fewer side effects.

Another important topic that came up at the summit was the need to reimagine new horizons in cancer care. This involves exploring new technologies and innovative approaches to cancer treatment. This could include new imaging techniques, the use of artificial intelligence in diagnosis and treatment, and other cutting-edge technologies.

One of the major highlights of the summit was the announcement by Dr. Sudarshan Mandol about a cervical cancer prevention vaccine that is expected to be launched by the end of 2023. The vaccine is being produced in-house by Serum Institute of India and is expected to be priced at INR 300-400. This is a significant development, as cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths among women in India. The vaccine has the potential to prevent thousands of deaths every year.

In conclusion, the National Roundtable Summit on Oncology organised by ECHO India was a fruitful event that brought together experts from various fields to discuss ways to improve cancer control in India. The summit emphasised the importance of a holistic approach in cancer care, identified new avenues for research and treatment, and highlighted the need for innovative approaches to cancer care. The announcement about the cervical cancer prevention vaccine was a major highlight that has the potential to save millions of lives in the coming years.

(Report prepared by Dr. Preeti Chauhan, Head-National Policy, Pallium India.)

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