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Interview with Dr. Nikhil Mehta (Surgical Oncologist)

Interview with Dr. Nikhil Mehta (Surgical Oncologist)

Dr. Nikhil Mehta is a well-known Surgical Oncologist with over 9 years of experience in Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. He has worked with most of the reputed cancer institutes and hospitals in India; to name a few, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute Delhi; Banaras Hindu University Varanasi; Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital Jaipur, and many more. He gained his fellowship at the Tata Memorial Hospital from 2014 to 2017 in Gastrointestinal, Thoracic, Head and Neck Oncology. He is currently working with the Fortis Escort Hospital as a Consultant Cancer Surgeon and a Cancer Super Specialist. 

Gastrointestinal Cancer and its treatment 

Gastrointestinal Cancer can be in the form of Oesophagus Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Colon Cancer, and Rectal Cancer. It is usually a diverse field. Patients show symptoms of pain in the abdomen, blood in stools, history of weight loss, constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

There are various methods evaluation for the patients such as Biopsy, CT Scan, or MRI. Gastrointestinal cancer is treatable at Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy are the only possible options of treatments. Field of advancement can be done either by open surgery, laparoscopic surgery, and robotic surgery. However, complete removal of the tumor, detecting cancer at the early stages, and contacting a Cancer Specialist or Oncologist at the earliest are the ways to get the best possible treatment. 

Robotic Advanced Surgery 

Robotic Advanced Surgery is one of the go-to surgery for all patients and doctors. There are two sides to each coin. It is convenient, less pain, and patients have early post-recovery. Its downside is the cost.

Gynaecological Cancer 

Gynecological cancer is in the form of cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, etc. The main causes include women’s lifestyle habits, late menopausal age, no children, smoking, hypertension, obesity, diabetics, etc. Gynecological cancer patients show symptoms of bloating, abnormal vaginal bleeding, etc. Once the diagnosis is over, the treatment(surgery) can begin. 

For self-diagnosis, a protocol for screening can be done from 21 years with the consultation of a Gynaecologist or an Oncologist, every 5 years. 

India has reported the highest number of Cervical Cancer patients and the main reason for the surge is it's taboo to the topic. Women in India avoid going for regular check-ups because of  stigma, lack of awareness, and shyness towards addressing the problem. Hence, Dr. Nikhil Mehta urges the women in India not to shy away, but to face the harsh reality, and inform their relatives with ultimate courage and bravery. 

Breast Cancer

Patients usually consult their Oncologist or Cancer Specialists in their First or Second Stage of Breast Cancer. Symptoms include lump in the breast, breast trauma, swelling or discharge from the breast, and an ulcer in the nipple. Patients not only require the treatment, but they also need the mental assurance that the problem could be resolved. Hence, a clinical examination is done to question its intensity, curability, and stage of Cancer. It is followed by sonography along with a mammography of the breast and the Biopsy- the examination of the tumor. A further diagnosis can be done with chemotherapy, surgery, or Radiotherapy, and if it’s benign- a regular health checkup is recommended. 

Breast Cancer is curable at all cancer stages. It is possible to remove the tumor, saving the breast. It is also possible to reconstruct the breast with the new advanced technology and facilities such as implants and transplants. 

A device called Chemoport is recommended for chemotherapy, which can be inserted in the Chest and Chemo can be given, easily. This device has gained recognition, and  won 1st prize in a conference. The device is often helpful for the Breast Cancer patients. This device has become popular, however, a surgery is necessary to remove the prick from the chest. 

Hence, a patient will no longer have to suffer to find a vein for chemotherapy procedure. 

Thoracic Cancer

Thoracic Cancer can also be in the form of Oesophagus Cancer, Lung Cancer, Metastatic Cancer, etc. Previously, open surgery was the treatment option. Currently, Laparoscopic surgery is effective although the patients will  be prone to some of the side effects such as  Cardiac Arrhythmia, lungs can become nonfunctional, etc. Therefore, proper post-operative care, chest physiotherapy, lung exercises in the form of spirometry procedures should be followed. Moreover, Dr. Nikhil strongly advises patients to have a strong positive outlook in order for cancer cure and treatment. He also recommends a Psychologist, or a Psychiatrist to give advanced cancer patients a morale boost to fight cancer to curb depression and suicidal thoughts. Palliative care, and other therapies also helps the patients to boost their immune system, to prolong a healthy lifestyle, and to give them the best supportive care as possible. 

Post Trauma Stress Disorder 

Cancer is not a psychological-mental challenge. A multidisciplinary team, along with Dr. Nikhil treated a Pancreatic Cancer patient, and the patient recovered in 4 months, with the help of other alternative therapies. 

Dr. Nikhil and his team faced a lot of obstacles and challenges while treating his patient. The patient’s blood pressure was fluctuating for a week, till it settled down. Later, he was able to send him home happily. 

Dr. Nikhil has also published a case report in an International Paper, gained recognition and won a prize for presenting his case. 

Dr. Nikhil Mehta also mentioned that every patient’s treatment is different according to the requirements and needs. 

Misconceptions about Cancer

50% of Cancer Patients refuse to do a biopsy as they assume that the tumour might spread to other parts of the body. However, this shouldn’t be the case. Dr.Nikhil emphasizes on the fact that biopsy is the most important step to diagnose cancer. Multiple studies and journals show that there are no side-effects. 

Other Causes of Cancer 

Smokeless Cancer is also a major type of Oral Cancer in India. Obesity, unhealthy lifestyle, lack of nutrition in our diets, lack of exercise, role of pesticides, and hereditary diseases are the causes of Cancer in India. 

Dr. Nikhil believes that is the perfect platform to build a gap in the bridge between the Cancer Patient Survivors and the Doctors, for their palliative care, medical treatment, and emotional support. helps patient’s to have a positive outlook on life. 

It also offers the best post-operative rehabilitation programs,social-well being programs, alternative therapies, remedies and treatment so that the patients can lead a normal healthy life even after their recovery.

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