New Delhi: Bringing
hope to hundreds of cancer patients, new technology which delivers
high doses of radiation with great accuracy into the human body
has been introduced in the Indian capital and will help patients
fight the disease with minimum side effects.
The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is an advanced method
of robotic delivery of high precision radiotherapy for treatment
of tumors anywhere in the body.
"This is another form of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT).
Through this technique, we can give high dose radiation at
specified locations and spare the normal tissues," P.K. Julka,
Head of Oncology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS),
The technology delivers high doses of radiation with great
accuracy in one to five sessions, unlike 30 to 40 sessions for
There are minimal or no side effects as compared to traditional
Though the technique is new in Delhi, it has been in use in
Bangalore and Chennai for the last six years, Julka said, adding
that it is most effective when the disease is detected in the
"Now, patients in Delhi can avail of this treatment and don't have
to go to Chennai or to Bangalore," Julka added.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of adult deaths worldwide,
accounting for 7.6 million deaths (around 13 percent of all
deaths) in 2008.
A Lancet study published in 2012 showed that cancer killed nearly
556,400 people across India in 2010. In India, among men, oral
cancer is the most common cancer, followed by lung cancer, while
in women cervical cancer is the most common. This is followed by
According to Sapna Nangia, radiation oncologist at the
Indraprastha Apollo hospital, Apollo Chennai was the first to
carry out a cyberknife surgery in the country.
"New advancements in technology such as the CyberKnife Robotic
Radiosurgery System are a significant development in cancer
therapy for patients as well as doctors. It offers the most
precise treatment option for a wide range of patients," Nangia
S. Hukku, chairman of the Roentgen BLK Radiation Oncology Centre
in BLK Hospital, said over 50 patients had been treated with the
"We have successfully treated over 50 patients without any
complications with the help of this technology. Hope is the most
important thing needed to overcome any disease, including cancer,"
said Hukku, who is a former president of the Association of
Radiation Oncologists of India.
But the technique, which is quite common abroad, is not very cost
"It has not been introduced in government hospitals. It costs Rs.5
lakh. If the government adopts it, then the cost will come down to
Rs.1 lakh. Proposals are there with the government for
introduction," said Tejinder Kataria, chairperson of Medanta's
radiation oncology division.
Doctors said many cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to
common risk factors, such as tobacco smoke. In addition, a
significant proportion of cancers can be cured by surgery,
radiotherapy or chemotherapy - especially if they are detected
They said awareness and timely action is the best way to fight the
"Often it is the lack of awareness that poses a major impediment
for successful treatment of cancer. Awareness and timely action
form the key to fight the disease," Kataria said.
(Sreeparna Chakrabarty can be contacted at email@example.com)