I bring greetings to you on behalf of the newly elected Executive Board of the Pediatric Hematology Oncology chapter of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics.
As you will know from our website’s introductory pages, this chapter was conceived and the foundation laid during the proceedings of the 25th IAP Annual conference held in October of 1987, in Chennai. These past three decades have observed incredible advances in the field of research and care in diseases related to cancer and blood in children. Four out of five children diagnosed with cancer can be cured with contemporary cancer therapy. This represents a dramatic improvement since 50 years ago when the cure rate of childhood cancer was <25% in the pre-chemotherapy era.
In India the last decade has been marked by a surge in the number of trained pediatric oncologists, some trained in advanced centres abroad and many more home trained. This is clearly a welcome change for our speciality. However much needs to be done in terms of having a PHO specialist in the pediatric dept of every medical college, including a note on warning signs of childhood cancer in all District and primary health centres. A referral route also needs to be defined and a separate budget requires to be assigned for their treatment, so that it does not compromise the care of children with other conditions.
However, as more children receive appropriate therapy it automatically leads to an increasing need for pediatricians participating in shared care. At this point we must remember that in order to achieve high cure rates we must have early diagnosis and a sensitized pediatrician. This not only elucidates the crucial role of the pediatrician but also the responsibility of the chapter in promoting networking with the pediatricians to reach out to every child in our country with cancer or catastrophic blood disorder.
I am honoured to be the chair of this august chapter and hope to be able to reach out to more and more children with a goal to improve the health and well-being of children with cancers and blood disorders in our country.
Gauri Kapoor MD, Ph.D
Chairperson, Pediatric Hematology Oncology chapter of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics