‘We need to win with will & science’

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“Cancer is not a death sentence. It cannot cause death immediately, like heart attacks, strokes. There is adequate time for us to start treatment and save lives. Standards in medicine have changed and we need different treatments for different people,” said Prof (Dr) Santosh Kumar, Department of Urology, PGIMER.

A dedicated urologist with a strong track record of treating advanced and complicated urological cases like prostate cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, stones and reconstructive surgery, Prof. Kumar has been working in the PGI for the last 27 years.

To reach out to people beyond the walls of the institute, Prof. Kumar during the lockdown began a unique initiative on YouTube, in which he shared insights on cancer, be it symptoms, new treatments, role of diet and lifestyle, prevention measures etc. “The intent of the videos is to help people know facts about cancer, make them less fearful of the disease, various aspects of diet that can help in building immunity and also the physical and psychological issues. Till now, there are 34 videos, and I am constantly working on spreading the word that cancer can be treated and we have to be positive in the face of the disease,” he added.

Prof. Kumar has performed more than 25,000 surgeries and published more than 150 publications in national and international journals of repute and has established many new surgical procedures and various surgical techniques to improve the outcome of patients.

He emphasises the importance of good health, natural and healthy diet, exercise and a positive frame of mind to improve immunity, prevent diseases and fight cancer.

“We spend lakhs on material things, but neglect our health and we cannot enjoy anything if our health is not good. My first suggestion is to avoid foods with additives, artificial colours, chemicals, re-fried food and instead opt for natural sources of food, opting for colourful fruits, vegetables, garlic, ginger, haldi, coconut, coconut water. Pollution, preservatives, insecticides, pesticides are carcinogenic and we need to understand this. Get morning sunlight, avoid red meat, smoking, and alcohol. Opt for unpolished food, include more fibre to avoid constipation, which leads to toxins in the blood. Positive outlook improves immunity and also helps people who are undergoing treatment to fight depression,” he said.

The doctor pointed out that some cancers like prostate and kidney cancers are hereditary, but there is nothing to fear, for there is a need to win with will and science. Cancer cells, he said, produce chemicals that deceive the immune system and immunotherapy is a new and effective therapy to fight the disease. “We are now using robotic surgery for prostate cancer, which has given us very good results, and worldwide, it is considered best for prostate cancer. Early detection is important, and for that smart screening is valuable, be it self-examination for breast cancer, looking out for complications in urine flow, blood in urine, hardness in testes etc. Screening after symptoms are a must and I say again, we need to detect early, seek medical treatment and remain positive, for cancer can be treated and my work is dedicated to helping people find a way to recovery,” said Prof. Kumar.