Dr Niti Raizada MD DNB DM ECMO MRCP(UK) EMPH(Univ.of Virginia,US)
Director, Medical Oncology & Hemato-Oncology
A new meaning to personalized medicine……… Partnership in doctor patient relationship, changing dimension !!
Personalized medicine in the ‘war against cancer’ started with the era of biological markers. There were magic bullets / targeted drugs to target important biological markers on tumor cells( also known as immunotherapy) and thus reduce the side effects known to conventional chemotherapy.
As per current WHO data, almost 50% of cancers globally are ‘curable’. The word ‘cancer’ in real terms would mean death sentence to most. But what we as oncologist aim at are few things- try to create awareness to prevent it whenever possible, diagnose it early if already there and treat it as effectively as practically possible based on science, keeping in mind the ‘quality of life’ objective.
More importantly , we as oncologist realize that cancer is not just a war/ battle against the disease but most importantly it is patient’s war against ‘guilt’, ‘fear’,suffering’
I was driven towards oncologist right from early days of my medicine career due to the scope of oncology driven by latest innovations and tremendous research. Only to realize it later that oncology is not just a science but an art,a philosophy of human relations and understanding of Human experience to a very serious ailment.
Eventually i realized that even though you have been an oncologist almost forever , there is no ‘blunting of emotions’. There is always a flood of emotions when you see a new patient and understand their circumstances. Its true that everyone is unique but its always difficult when your patient ‘bares his/her heart’.
Important thing in a doctor and cancer patient relationship is that it is a relationship ‘forever’. From diagnosis to treatment through survivorship of the patient. It can be emphasized here is that this ‘partnership’ in patient management is prima facies the bottomline.
Cancer is not the end, but beginning of a different journey. ……advances in oncology has truly given life wherever possible. Whatever hurdles comes in its way of treating are mostly temporary. It starts with ‘ never loose hope and faith’. Then comes ‘truth telling’. Relationship has to be beyond ‘doctor knows best phenomenon’ and going to partnership in patient care and treatment planning and delivery.
In this era of overflow of information through resources like Internet and media, it is very important to add meaning to the information which patient or his/ her family would want to share and clarify.
We know that words can be swords when used inappropriately or at the same time words could help one heal better ……difficulties are gods way of giving redirection.