Maharashtra joins with Tata hospital to launch online cancer tutorials

Aiming to detect early stages of cancer sooner and making the treatment more affordable, doctors at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Parel along with the state government and the Indian Dental Association (IDA), have launched online tutorials for doctors to diagnose and treat cancer.

Professor of head and neck surgery at the institute Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi said that the course is intended for physicians, gynaecologists, dentists, and other health care professionals who are not necessarily cancer specialists.

''Through this project, we are trying to reach millions of doctors who are extremely busy working in rural areas and tier-two cities, and may not have the time to attend medical conferences,'' he said, adding that early diagnoses are likely to increase survival rates and decrease the cost of treatment.

The course is designed for seven weeks and comprises 14 hours of video lectures, cases studies, assessment questionnaires, and interactive webinars. Called 'Oral Cancer: Diagnosis', the material is available free at

Dr Satish Pawar, director of Maharashtra's Directorate of Health Services, said that state will use the e-learning programme for doctors who will be a part of a month long oral cancer screening programme to be undertaken by the government in December. He said that a total of 8,500 doctors in the government service will benefit from these online tutorials.

Cancer is a major public health concern and one of the 10 leading causes of death. Much of the suffering and death from the disease could be prevented through early diagnosis.

State health minister Dr Deepak Sawant said the programme ''will help to detect the cancer in early stage and reduce the mortality rate from cancer''.

While the e-learning programme will be started for doctors in Maharashtra, eventually it will be rolled out across all states as a national programme. Maharashtra reports over one lakh cases of cancer annually and 50 per cent of patients who are diagnosed at late stages die within a year of the diagnosis. Over 30 lakh Indians are estimated to be living with some form of cancer.