Page 0142

REGIONAL INITIATIVES

CANCER CONTROL 2014 141

T

he Indian Cancer Congress 2013 (ICC) was the first

such combined meeting organized by a consortium of

the four major oncology associations in India to

critically review the status and discuss the future of cancer

care in India (indiancancercongress2013.org). The Indian

Society of Oncology (ISO), Indian Society of Medical and

Pediatric Oncology (ISMPO), Indian Association of Surgical

Oncology (IASO) and Association of Radiation Oncologists of

India, (AROI) worked together to plan and conduct this

historic conference. ICC 2013 was deemed a great success

and the next meeting (to be held every four years) is planned

for Bangalore in 2017.

ICC 2013 was designed to engage all of the major disciplines

involved in cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis,

multidisciplinary therapy and palliative care. Indian societies

of medical, surgical and radiation oncology, as well as oncology

nursing and basic cancer researchers, had jointly planned the

ICC over the preceding three years with input from the

thought leaders of Indian oncology. Oncology education was a

major theme of the meeting and the Open Educational

Resources for Cancer in India (OERC-India) team from the

United States was invited to lead several educational sessions.

The team, led by oncologists Dr Madhavan Pillai of

Jefferson University Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia

and Dr Lawrence Lessin of the Washington Cancer Institute,

included Dr Savitri Singh-Carlson and Ms Jeanne Sewell, both

nurse educators, and Anil Srivastava, an expert in online

education, of the Open Health Sciences Laboratories in

Rockville, MD. Amb Balakrishnan of New Delhi headed up the

patient advocacy and public education sessions. The OERC

group lectured, participated on panels and led discussions on

online learning, oncology nursing, continuing medical

education, public education and the principal plenary

presentation, "OERC-India as resource for professional

education".

Moreover, the broad range of ICC presentations by Indian

and international experts provided the OERC-India team with

a comprehensive status assessment of the major aspects of

cancer control and care in India and underscored the need for

increasing provider capacity and competence through

education.

We learned that the age adjusted incidence rate for all types

of cancer in India ranges between 106-130 per 100,000

people among men and 100-140 for women. These incidence

figures are predicted to increase seven-fold by 2025. With the

current patient load of one million new cancer patients every

year, the ratio of cancer patients to oncologists in India is

1,600 to 1 compared to 100 to 1 in the United States. Steps

have already been taken to increase the oncology provider

capacity by at least four-fold in the near future, so that India

OERC-INDIA INAUGURATED AT

THE INDIAN CANCER CONGRESS

IN NEW DEHLI

LAWRENCE S LESSIN (LEFT), MEDICAL DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF CONTINUING

MEDICAL EDUCATION AND QUALITY TRAINING, WASHINGTON HOSPITAL CENTER,

USA, MADHAVAN V PILLAI (CENTRE LEFT), ADJUNCT PROFESSOR OF ONCOLOGY,

THOMAS JEFFERSON UNIVERSITY, PHILADELPHIA, USA, SAVITRI SINGH-CARLSON

(CENTRE RIGHT), ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, GRADUATE PROGRAM AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN NURSING,

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, LONG BEACH, USA AND JEANNE SEWELL (RIGHT), NURSING PROFESSOR

AT GEORGIA COLLEGE, MILLEDGEVILLE, USA

In November 2013, more than 5,000 Indian oncologists, oncology nurses, social workers and

other cancer caregivers convened for a four-day congress in New Delhi, India, that was focused

on the assessment and enhancement of cancer care in India and the education of health care

professionals. This article outlines the findings of that meeting and the role that OERC-India

can play in advancing oncology learning in India.

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