Washington: A leading US robotic surgeon, Dr. Chris Holsinger from Stanford, will visit India this week to train head and neck surgeons on minimally invasive methods such as robotic surgery for treating cancer patients.
India with its vast number of smoking population is home to the largest number of head and neck cancer patients in the world that go untreated. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) studies reveal that in India over 200,000 head and neck cancers are reported each year. Of these, nearly three-fourth cancers relate to oral cavity, throat and voice box.
Holsinger, who leads Stanford Cancer Centre’s Head and Neck Oncology practice will share his vast experience at the Second National Workshop in Transoral Surgery at Delhi’s Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre (RGCIRC) on Saturday.
During the day-long session Holsinger, widely recognised as the global guru of head and neck surgery, will speak to over a 100 surgeons on the ‘How, When and When Not’ of robotic surgery, according to a media release. The audience will include surgeons from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Medanta Medicity, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Research (PGI).
In addition, he along with workshop co-chair and consultant surgical oncologist RGCIRC Dr Surender Dabas will also conduct robotic surgeries that will be telecast live to the attendees at the event. The conference will debate issues like relative merits and demerits of radiotherapy versus robotic surgery as a method to treat mouth and pharynx cancer patients.
Since 80 per cent of Indian patients test negative for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), robotic surgery leads to better results compared to radiotheraphy. “While smokers have a 16 times higher risk of contracting oral cancer, the risk factor grows to 36 times among smokers who consume alcohol,” said Dabas who has conducted over 200 robotic surgeries in the last two years.
“Participation of patients in preventive health check ups is key to controlling this menacing medical condition,” said Dr AK Dewan, medical director and Chief of Head and Neck surgery, RGCIRC. Holsinger, founded and led the programme in Minimally Invasive and Endoscopic Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Centre before founding the programme in robotic surgery at Stanford.
RGCIRC’s oncology practice in Head and Neck, Urology, Gynaecology, Thoracic and General area has recorded over 1500 robotic surgeries since introduction in early 2011. “Robotic procedures in India are estimated to cross the 6000 mark in 2015 as more and more procedures across the spectrum have started using robots,” said Dr Mahendra Bhandari, CEO of the US headquartered Vattikuti Foundation that is promoting prevention and treatment of cancer in USA and India.