March 30, 2020
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Dr V. Shanta

A cancer specialist and Magsaysay awardee on her mission to make the world a healthier place.

Dr V. Shanta
Dr V. Shanta
Tell us about your work.
I've tried to treat cancer for the last 51 years.

What is special about your cancer institute?
We try to give personalised care and take each patient as our own.

How does cancer treatment in India compare to international standards?
For treatment we have the best facilities here.

Do the poor have access to treatment at your institute?
Yes, about 60 per cent of our patients are free or highly subsidised.

You've received many awards. Is this special?
This is international recognition for our institute. Awards have never been my personal achievements.

What is it that drew you to cancer?
I believe it was just destiny. Right from my days as a house surgeon, I was in the cancer ward.

Among Indians what is the most common form of cancer?
Among women, breast, mouth and cervical. Among men it's mainly tobacco-related—stomach, upper alimentary canal and mouth.

Do you have facilities for terminal cases?
We don't have facilities for palliative care here. It might affect the morale of those undergoing treatment. We recommend them to hospices outside the campus and treat them as out-patients.

As a doctor have you witnessed miracles?
I've seen several patients with no hope coming back. It happens but rarely. I wouldn't call them miracles but unusual anecdotal incidents.

Do you believe in a god?
I don't believe in god but a supreme power.

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