Cancer is considered a systemic disease and thus most patients registered at TMH are seen by the department of Medical Oncology, which deals with systemic therapies in the form of chemotherapy, targeted therapies, hormonal therapies, immune therapies (monoclonal antibodies, check-point inhibitors) and haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The department is committed to offering efficient and compassionate care along with cutting-edge clinical research to both adult and pediatric patients with cancer and at the same time provide outstanding training opportunities to medical students from across the country and other low and middle Income countries (LMICs).
Unlike surgery and radiation therapy, which is usually done only once or very rarely twice, cancer patients needing systemic therapy not only get multiple cycles (4 to 6 cycles and up to 3 years of therapy in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) of therapy upfront, but they can also receive multiple (up to 6 or even 8) lines of treatment in presence of resistant / progressive or relapsed disease. Systemic therapies are not only given before local therapies (neo-adjuvant setting); along with surgery/ radiation therapy; after local therapies (adjuvant setting) and as maintenance therapies in curative settings, but also as palliative therapies in advanced cancers to improve the quality of life. Considering the limitation of in-patient beds, most of treatment is now executed on outpatient basis in injection room or on Day-Care beds. Also, whenever there is expertise available, patients are referred back to their place of residence to take chemotherapy cycles.
The work- load on the department can be gauged by the fact that members of the department attended to 31,924 new patients in 2017. There were 13,359 inpatient admissions and 172,662 day-care admissions; 310,295 patients were attended in the OPDs and 38,145 in the casualty. 25,053 procedures were performed in the Minor OT which included bone marrow aspirations and biopsies; lumbar punctures and intra thecal injections and paracentesis (pleural, ascitic, etc.). All this was executed by only 23 faculty members who are organized into 11 different management groups along with the help of nearly 80 efficient and hardworking Residents and Fellows. Because of development and availability of various immunohistochemistry, flow-cytometric, cytogenetic and molecular tests at TMH, we can offer our patients risk stratified and personalized therapies which help not only to decrease side-effects and costs of treatment, but also help improve outcomes of our patients.
The Paediatric Division provides comprehensive medical diagnostic, counselling, management, follow-up and palliative services to children below 15 years of age having cancer. 2164 children less than 15 years of age were registered at TMH in 2017 and another 2433 children came for second opinion or investigations. The high costs of curative therapies along with the severe socio- economic constraints which majority of the families have, coupled with the highly curative nature of most paediatric malignancies, the group recognized way back that intervention in these issues helps save lives, and improves outcomes quantitatively and qualitatively. Towards this end, the group has developed an extensive support system and raised more than 170 Million Indian Rupees to provide financial aid, accommodation, nutrition, continued education, sporting and fun activities, outings and cultural programs to these paediatric cancer patients as part of its service program. All this has helped to keep the Treatment Refusal & Abandonment rate below 4% and at the same time improve overall 5-year survival to above 70% in children below the age of 15 years.
Our Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) unit continues to be one of the very few BMT units in the country which specializes in difficult to do unrelated & haploidentical transplants.
As expected, TMC is the topmost institution in the country involved in the training of manpower in the field of oncology and this also includes the field of Medical Oncology. At any given time, there are nearly 100 students being trained in medical oncology at TMH which includes 64 DM (Med-Onc), 12 DM (Ped-onc), 3 Fellows in Hem-Onc / BMT / Molecular Oncology; 4 PhD students and many observers / fellows from across the country and especially from African and SARCC countries. The Dept of Medical Oncology Molecular Lab is also actively involved in academics which includes training of DM students; running of PhD, fellowship as well as preceptorship programs in Molecular Oncology.
Department members are appointed on various DM examination & PhD committees of Institutions across the country. The Faculty members are also invited to Institutions / Meetings / Conferences across the country for disseminating knowledge through invited talks as well as panel discussions. Department consultants are also members of various IAP & ICMR committees on formulating treatment guidelines for the country.
Research is one of the important pillars of the vision of TMC. Departmental members were Principal Investigators of 32 new projects approved by one of the 3TMC IRBs in the year 2017 and at the same time were co-investigators of many more. They were part of 107 pub-med indexed publications in 2017. Department members were also Principal Investigators of 2 practice changing papers in the field of Head & Neck cancer and cervical cancer, which were presented in international meetings and later published in prestigious journals. Most of the departmental members are on the Editorial Boards of most cancer related journals published from the country. Senior departmental members were also representatives on various prestigious scientific national committees like ICMR, DCGI, NCCP, DBT and DST.
The department has its own state- of –the- art molecular laboratory which is involved in service, research and training activities. The lab develops new molecular and genomic tests, initially on research basis and once standardized and proven useful, are offered on service basis, not only to patients registered at TMC, but also to patients across the country at very affordable cost. Departmental members helped establish and are also part of the Clinical Scientific Lab at ACTREC.
Department Office Number: (+9122) 24177000 / Ext.No. 4173
GR. Floor, Main Building
TATA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, Dr.E.Borges Road, Parel, Mumbai-400-012
Hospital Fax Number: (+9122) 24146937