27th November 2017
On a historical development Dr. Bhubaneswar Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) on the 27th November 2017 has become a central institute under the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India and as a unit of Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai, following a decision of Cabinet Committee under the Chairmanship Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi. This landmark decision will pave the way for affordable cancer care comparable to premier cancer centers across the country. Established in 1973, BBCI caters to the need of the entire North Eastern (NE) states. In view of high incidence of cancer and limited cancer treatment facilities in the NE region, up gradation of BBCI will usher a ray of hope for cancer patients.

Out of 4.5 crore populations of the NE region, about 45,000 new cancer patients are diagnosed every year. Assam alone contributes to about to 35,000 new cancer patients a year. Cancer of esophagus, hypopharynx, and lung in men, and in women, cancers of breast, esophagus, uterine cervix, and gall bladder are very common, as per the report of Population Based Cancer Registry under Indian Council of Medical Research in Urban Kamrup region. Aizawl District of Mizoram has recorded the highest incidence of cancer followed by Papumpare District in Arunacahl Pradesh and East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya.

To commemorate the day, various activities were undertaken by the institute. A guest house for cancer patients, Jironi Ghar-II was jointly inaugurated by Dr. Rajendra A Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai and Shri Mervin S. Alexander, Joint Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India. A free lunch scheme called Annakut for all outdoor patients coming to BBCI was inaugurated in the Annakut Vihar under the auspices of Shri. Ram Gopal Harlalka in memory of his father Late M C Harlalka in collaboration with GLP Social Circle, which was also inaugurated by Dr Badwe.

To reduce the waiting time for chemotherapy patients, a Day Care Chemotherapy Ward in memory of Late Dr. Rajendra Kumar Bhuyan, former Professor of Anatomy, Gauhati Medical College was inaugurated under the auspices of Shrimati Putali Bhuyan and family from Sivsagar.

Cancer is treated in a multi-disciplinary manner where all cases are discussed in presence of consultants to decide upon treatment. The existing tumor board hall was up-graded in memory Late Mungi Devi Goenka and Late Jeevan Ram Goenka under the auspices of Sankarlal Goenka.

On the same day, Memorandum of Understandings were signed with St. Jude India Child Care for establishing a Home for Childhood Cancer patients, with the Department of Bioengineering and Biotechnology of Gauhati University for starting M.Sc in Cancer Biology, and with the Asian Institute of Nursing Education, Guwahati for starting one year Diploma in Oncology Nursing. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Badwe had stated, this initiative will improve the standard of care as well as contribute to generate human resource in the field of Oncology and Research. On this occasion, a Maruti S-Cross car was donated by Shri Anup Poddar from Poddar Car World. The Poddar family is also providing free lunch to outdoor patients through Akshay Patra Foundation from time to time. All the donors were felicitated by the Dr. Amal Chandra Kataki, Director, BBCI in presence of distinguished guests. Assam Gas Company Limited presented a cheque of Rs.25.00 lakhs to BBCI as first installment for free treatment of childhood cancer patients to commemorate the celebration.

Dr. Badwe complimented all the employees of BBCI for their hard work and dedication, and hoped that the institute under the Department of Atomic Energy, (DAE) Government of India and Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai will achieve newer heights to offer evidence based cancer care with state of the art facilities. He also stated that within 4-6 months highly subsidized chemotherapy medicine will be made available to the patients. The Joint Secretary, DAE, Shri Alexander assured all possible support from the Government of India. He appreciated various academic courses conducted by the institute. Shri Abhay Kumar, Deputy Secretary (Finance), DAE appealed all the doctors and employees to offer cancer care with compassion and empathy, to make the lives of cancer patient meaningful. Shri Kumar appreciated the holistic approach adopted by the institute for the treatment of patients integrating various recreational programmes.

Dr. Amal Chandra Kataki, Director, BBCI in his address recollected the contribution made by the founder members of the institute. Dr Kataki appealed to the doctors to emulate the ideals of Lokabondhu Dr. Bhubaneswar Borooah, who was a great physician and philanthropist of Assam. He informed that an order has been placed for a state-of-the-art Linear Accelerator and a high-end CT Scan machine which will be commissioned within 3-4 months. This will reduce the waiting period for treatment. A High-Dose Radio-Isotope Therapy Ward will be inaugurated within one month which will be first of its kind in the entire North Eastern Region. Dr. Kataki expressed his gratitude to Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble DoNER Minister, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, Hon’ble Health Minister of Assam, officials of the North Eastern Council, Government of Assam, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Biotechnology, and well wishers from the public and media for realizing the dream of BBCI becoming central institute.



Swachh bharat Abhiyan / Nirmal Asom Abhiyan was launched at Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Regional Cancer Centre, Guwahati on 17th October 2014 at 2:00 PM in presence of cancer patients, cancer survivors, actor Jatin Bora & Zerifa Wahid, Singer Anima Choudhury & Santa Uzir, musician sri Bhupen Uzir, cancer survivor Smt. Minoti Borthakur & Sri Debraj Kalita, academician Dr. Anil Goswami and employees of Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute.





Fifteen February is celebrated as International Childhood Cancer Day every year worldwide to create awareness about childhood cancer and to raise fund. This year's theme is 'Access to Care?

Worldwide 240,000 children suffer from cancer every year. In India around 40,000 to 60,000 children are diagnosed as cancer annually. When diagnosed early enough, and treated with the appropriate protocols, approximately 70% of childhood cancers are curable. This is true only for the 20% children who live in develop countries. But, for the 80% of the world population of children who lives in developing and under developing countries the cure rate is 15% - 20%. This disparity is due to lack of awareness and access to care. That is why 15th Feb is declared as international Childhood Cancer Day and celebrated every year worldwide to create awareness about childhood cancer and to raise funds.

As per Hospital Based Cancer Registry of ICMR for the year 2007-2011, the proportion of childhood cancer relative to cancers in all age groups varied between 1.7 and 10.9%. The relative proportion is lowest in Guwahati for boys (1.7%), Chennai for girls (1.8%) whereas it is highest in Chandigarh for both boys (10.9%) and girls (6.4%).

Leukaemia is the predominant form of childhood cancer in both boys and girls. In boys, lymphoma is the second most common cancer. Other common childhood cancers are C.N.S. tumours, bone, soft-tissue sarcomas, retinoblastoma and germ-cell tumours. During the period 2007-2011, 114 boys and 87 girls registered at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute.

This year the 13th ICCD was celebrated at Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute with a month long program. On 15th February the program was started with an academic session on Childhood Cancer where Dr. G. Chinnaswami from Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai delivered speech on pediatric Cancer and Doctors from various Institutions of the city participated. Secondly on 19th February, Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute in collaboration with Song & Drama Division of Govt. of India arranged Street Play on childhood cancer in order to educate and aware the public. On 24th February, an awareness program was organized in KRB Girls?College. On 28th February, a recreational program was planned for the children receiving treatment in Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute which included City Tour and drawing competition.

The treatment and care of childhood cancer requires a whole interdisciplinary team, to provide not just the medical treatment of the child, but also the psychosocial support for the child and the whole family. Close cooperation between the medical team at the hospital and the parents of the child is considered to be an essential component of the successful treatment and care of the child.




World Cancer Day Celebration by Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati on 4th February 2014

Fourth February is celebrated worldwide as World Cancer Day every year. The main aim of world cancer day celebration is to generate cancer awareness. This year World Cancer Day focuses on dispelling damaging myths and misconception under the Tagline: “Debunk the myths

Cancer has become one of the major public health concerns and one of the leading causes of death in the state.  As per our Cancer Registry, more than half of the cancers in men and quarter of cancer in women are attributable to tobacco.  The leading cancers among men in Assam are Lund and mouth cancers that are solely caused by tobacco.  As per Global adult tobacco survey 2010 conducted by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 39.3% of the adult population in Assam is addicted to tobacco. Of these, nearly 90% are chewers and 10% are smokers.

Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute has organized month long community cancer awareness programme in different rural and urban areas of the North East.   On the occasion of World Cancer Day, the Institute had organized a day long programme when the day started with distribution of fruits and health food amongst the patients of the Institute which was followed by a series of street plays organized by the Institute in collaboration with Song and Drama Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. These street plays started in front of Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute and then carried out in different public places of the city like – in front of Cotton College, Don Bosco School, Gauhati University and other places of public gathering.  IEC materials on cancer awareness was distributed in and around the city.

It’s better to prevent and prepare than to repent and repair. So, let us be aware and prevent cancer.



“National Seminar on Molecular Pathology at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute”

The Department of Pathology and DBT Centre for Molecular Biology & Cancer Research of Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati is organizing a “National Seminar on Molecular Pathology of Cancer’ on 10 th January 2014 (Friday) at the Auditorium of the Institute.

Dr. A. Nandakumar, Director, NCDIR, Bangalore; Dr. Rajiv Sarin, Former Director, ACTREC, TMC, Mumbai; Dr. Sunita Saxena, Director, NIOP, Delhi; Dr. Sujala Kapoor, Dy. Director, NIOP, Delhi; Dr. Ravi Mehrota, Director, ICPO, Delhi; Dr. A. Chatterjee, Professor of Biotechnology, NEHU, Shillong and Prof. G. Kundu, Scientist, Pune will attend the programme as guest faculties. Delegates from North Eastern States will also present their work as scientific presentation.

The high incidence of cancer in the North-East region of India (consolidated report of Population Based Cancer Registries of NCRP of ICMR has already generated lots of interests amongst molecular biologists to do further research on different risk factors, genetic mechanisms in understanding gene-environment interaction in the cause of cancer and factors modifying treatment response to various forms of cancer treatment and survival. In the last three decades, tremendous development has happened in the field of molecular biology. It is playing a significant role in enhancing the understanding of biology of cancer.

The seminar will bring together eminent clinicians and researchers of the country to deliver their experience in dealing with various aspects of cancer.

The organizing committee requests the interested participants to contact for registration.



The Clinical Society of Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati is organizing a scientific session in the Auditorium of the Institute on 2nd December 2013 at 7:00 PM. 

Dr. Shailesh V. Shrikhande, Professor, Department of Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai will deliver a guest lecture on Gastric Cancer.  The incidence of gastric cancer is very high in the State of Mizoram and Sikkim.  258 cases of stomach cancer were seen at Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute in 2012-13.  Tobacco, alcohol and smoked meat and fish are important risk factors for stomach cancer.  Dr. Shrikhande will speak on “Gastric cancer – current concepts”. 

Dr. C. S. Pramesh, Professor, Department of Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai will deliver a guest lecture on “Esophageal cancer – Current Paradigms of Treatment”.  Cancer of the oesophagus is the leading cancer in male in the state of Assam.  576 patients were treated in the Institute in the year 2012-13.  It is also common in the State of Meghalaya and Mizoram.  Tobacco and betel nut chewing is important risk factors for this cancer.

Dr. Sarbani S. Laskar, Professor, department of Radiation Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai will speak on “Management of H&N Cancers – Principles and practice”.  Head & neck cancer constitute almost 50% of all cancers in male and 25% of all cancers in female.  Smokeless tobacco consumption & poor oral hygiene are important risk factors for Head & Neck cancer.  About 1300 head & neck cancers are reported every year to Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute. 

Doctors from the city of Guwahati and adjoining states have been invited to attend the programme.  The Clinical Society of Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati is regularly organizing academic programme in the Institute.  A national seminar in molecular pathology along with a workshop will be held on 10th & 11th January 2014.  Distinguished clinicians and scientists from various parts of the country will attend the programme as guest faculty.




18th November 2013

The Hon'ble Chief Minister of Assam Sri Tarun Gogoi attended 40th Foundation Day Celebration of Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati on 18th November 2013 as Chief Guest. During his visit, the Hon'ble Chief Minister inaugurated a state-of-the-art Digital X-ray machine. The Director, BBCI Dr. A. C. Kataki in his welcome address paid rich tribute to the founders of the Institute. He complimented all the present and past employees of Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute for their hard-work and dedication. The Hon'ble Chief Minister also laid the Foundation Stone of 2nd Guest House for patients, Building for PET-CT Scan machine and Married Staff Quarters to be constructed at a total cost of Rs.6.00 cores approximately. The Annual Report for 2012-13 was also released by the Chief Minister. In his speech, the Hon'ble Chief Minister appreciated the significant improvement of the infrastructure facilities of the Institute. He emphasized on prevention and early detection of cancer. Tobacco is the single most risk factor for cancer and he stated about the initiative of the Govt. of Assam to ban smokeless tobacco products. He suggested that medical research should be taken up to find out the difference in the regional prevalence of various types of cancer. He stated that human resource generation should also receive priority as there are acute shortage of radiologists and other faculties in the state of Assam. Tele-radiology will be useful in places where there are shortages of radiologists. The Hon'ble Chief Minister reaffirmed his commitment to develop Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute into a centre of excellence for cancer treatment, education and research.

Prof. U. C. Sarma, Vice Chancellor of Srimanta Sankardeva University of Health Sciences, Assam attended the programme a distinguished guest and released 'BBCI Newsletter? Dr. Sarma in his address, discussed about various epidemiological risk factors for cancer and geographic variations. Dr. Sarma appealed to the medical faculties to take up various medical research projects. He appreciated the initiative of the Institute to take various academic courses like MD in Radiotherapy and Ph.D programmes in the Institute. Earlier, the Director, BBCI inaugurated the 7th issue of Wall Magazine 'Shristi? Dr. Bibhuti Bhusan Borthakur, Medical Superintendent offered vote of thanks. A musical by Suratirtha and staffs of BBCI was held in the evening.


14TH November 2013

Children’s Day was celebrated at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati on 14th November 2013 at 11:00 AM with participation of 250 students from various Schools of Guwahati.  Shri Jayanta Naryan Choudhury, Director General of Police, Assam and Sri G. L. Agarwala, Chairman, GLP Social Circle, Guwahati attended the programme a Chief Guest and Guest of Honour respectively. 

While welcoming the students and invited dignitaries, Director, BBCI Dr. A. C. Kataki informed that tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death amongst the youth.  In India, 2500 people die every day from tobacco related diseases.  Recent Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) findings show that Assam has 39% overall prevalence of tobacco use which is quite alarming.  Each day 5500 children in India start using tobacco and about 5 million children under the age of 15 are addicted to tobacco.  The tobacco industry targets children as the new consumer base.  It is not surprising that age of initiation of tobacco habits in India is as low as 8 years.  As per the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), 15% of the students currently use tobacco in some forms or the other.  The growing consumption of smokeless tobacco products amongst children is raising serious concern of an impending oral cancer epidemic in our country. 

Dr. Ashok Kr. Das, Associate Professor & I/c of Head & Neck Oncology, BBCI with audio-visual aid appraised the students about harmful affects of tobacco on health.  He stated that with gradual control of communicable diseases, the incidence of non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and stroke are significantly increasing.  Tobacco is responsible for many of the lifestyle, chronic non-communicable diseases.

With the initiative of Voluntary Health Association, Assam and State Tobacco Control Cell, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam was requested on 8th November 2013 to take action against the sale & consumption of tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutions to ensure tobacco free environment around the temples of education.  In this connection, Dr Das informed that the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam has signed a pledge to protect the children of Assam from the harmful effects of tobacco products.

The Director General of Police Sri Jayanta Narayan Choudhury in his speech appreciated the initiative of Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute and emphasized on preventive aspects of non-communicable diseases like cancer.  He offered to extend all possible help to BBCI to organize sensitization programme for village defence personnel in the State of Assam about the harmful affects of tobacco on health.  He also assured that steps will be taken to implement all the provisions of COTPA in the participating School premises. 

Sri Jayanta Narayan Choudhury, DGP, Assam Police administered pledge to 250 students to refrain from tobacco consumption.

Sri G. L. Agarwala, Chairman, GLP Social Circle, Guwahati in his speech appealed the students to refrain from all sorts of tobacco products.  He reiterated his commitments to carry forward public health initiative in collaboration with Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati. 

Two cancer patients who are presently undergoing treatment at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute and also habituated tobacco chewers appealed to the students not to make similar mistakes.

Miss Trishna Goswami, a student from Dakhin Guwahati Jatiya Vidyalaya who recently won the first prize in state level speech completion on Anti-Tobacco Day also spoke on this occasion and urged fellow students to quite all forms of tobacco consumption. 

Smt. Radha Choudhury, President of Police Officers Wives Welfare Association, Assam also spoke on the occasion. This association has been organizing cancer awareness programme at various places in collaboration with BBCI.

A painting completion was also organized for the paediatric cancer patients undergoing treatment in the Institute, which started with cutting of cake in presence of visiting dignitaries. 

The meeting ended with vote of thanks from Dr. Srabana Misra Bhagabaty, Asst. Professor, Department of Preventive Oncology of the Institute.

The Voluntary Health Association of Assam, State Tobacco Control Cell, Deepsikha Foundation, AIRCEL, Landscape Safari, GLP Social Circle and many others cooperated with the Institute to make the Children’s Day Celebration a grand success.




Workshop on Cancer Registry at Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati

DHS, Assam delivering speech

group photograph of the workshop

workshop on cancer registry (dignitaries)

India is a vast country with marked regional diversities in population dynamics including population figures, socio-cultural differences reflecting ethnic variations in food habits and life styles.  The changing paradigm in recent past decades of demographic transitions is going to increase the burden of cancer in the future. Epidemiologists believe this transition has resulted from increased life expectancy resulting in growth of aging population, urbanization (which in most of the places are not well planned), industrialization and increasing trend in population migration. Keeping in mind the rise of number of cancer cases, a Population Based Cancer Registry was established at Dr.B Borooah Cancer Institute in the year 2003 with financial and technical assistance from the Indian Council of Medical Research under the network of National Cancer Registry Programme of Govt of India. A Hospital Cancer Registry was also established in the year 2010. No population based registry data on cancer were available in NE-region incidence and pattern of cancer prior to 2003, and so far cancer control activity/research have been negligible in this part of the world.  As cancer is not a notifiable disease in India; the process of collection of data on cancer patient is an active one with participation of different laboratories and hospital units in the given geographical area and so their cooperation is essential in generating a reliable data on the incidence and prevalence of cancer in the population. A workshop on “Role of cancer registry in cancer control” was organized by population based cancer registry at Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute at the auditorium of the institute on 11/11/2013. The chief guest for the programme was Dr. Dhruba Hojai, Director of Health services, Govt. of Assam and Dr. Satyendra Nath Choudhary, Joint Director of health services of urban Kamrup District attended the programme as the guest of honor. The programme was attended by delegates representing different laboratories, clinics and hospitals in the Kamrup-urban area. Dr. Amal Chandra kataki, director of Dr. B Borooah cancer Institute while delivering the welcome address explained the aims & objectives of Hospital and Population Based Cancer Registry.  He stated that incidence and type of cancer from these registries will reflect the burden of the disease and will be helpful for epidemiological and translational research.  It will also help the policy makers to formulate a viable cancer control strategy in Indian context. Dr. Jagannath D Sharma, professor and head of Pathology Department presented an audio-visual presentation on role of cancer registry in cancer control. Dr Sharma stated that the global burden of cancer is estimated to be 10 million new cancer cases are diagnosed every year, 6 million people die annually due to cancer, and there are 22 million people who are living with cancer. If the current trend continues, by the end of 2020, there will be 15 million new cases of cancer and 10 million people will die due to cancer. In India, there are 25 lakhs cancer patients at any given point of time and around 9 lakhs new cancer cases are detected every year out of which around 6 lakhs dies due to cancer every year. Because of the presence of population cancer registry we now have data on the incidence of cancer in this region. In Kamrup-urban area alone every year 185 males per one lakh population and 156 females per one lakh population are affected with cancer. The leading sites of cancer in males are esophagus, pharynx, lung and stomach, and in females the leading sites of cancer are breast, esophagus, uterine cervix, and gall bladder. Tobacco related cancers accounts for almost 52% of cancers in males and 27% of all cancers in females. The age adjusted incidence of certain cancer in males and females of Kamrup-urban is highest in India. The incidence of oral cancers, cancers of tongue, ovarian cancer, pharyngeal cancers and gall bladder in females is highest in the country and notably the incidence of gall bladder cancer in females of Kamrup-urban is second highest in the world, the highest being in Chile, South America. The incidence of gall bladder cancer in males in Kamrup-urnban area is also highest in the country.

Dr Dhruba Hojai, Director of Health Services, Govt. of Assam in his address spoke about National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardio-vascular disease and Stroke.  He further said that changing lifestyle and habit is the most important risk factor for cancer.  He laid emphasis on making cancer a notifiable disease across the state to obtain more reliable data on incidence of cancer in the State of Assam.  Dr. S. N. Choudhury, Joint Director of Health Services, Govt. of Assam in his address highlighted the role of IEC activities for prevention and early detection of cancer.  Many centres of source of registration also participated in the workshop.  Dr. M. Krishnatreya, Research Scientist of HBCR offered the vote of thanks.



( Inauguration of Radiological Physics Laboratory of BBCI by Addl. Secretary, DAE, Govt. of India )

Dr. C. B. S. Venkataramana, IAS, Additional Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India inaugurated a ‘Radiological Physics Laboratory’ at DBT Biotech Hub of Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati on 13th September 2013.  The DBT Hub has been commissioned with grants-in-aid from Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, North Eastern Council and Department of Atomic Energy, Govt. of India. 

Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute is conducting 3 years M.Sc course in Radiological Physics in collaboration with Department of Physics, Gauhati University since 2011.  There are only 3-4 centres in the country presently conducting M.Sc in Radiological / Medical Physics.  There is acute shortage of medical physicists in the country.  As per World Health Organization recommendation, one Tele-radiotherapy machine is required per ten lakhs of population for treatment of cancer.  At present there is a shortfall of about 500 machines in the country.  As per Radiological Safety Division of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, one medical physicist is required for every teletherapy machine.  It is hoped that the M.Sc course in Radiological Physics will be able to fulfill some of the requirement of the country in general and north eastern states in particular.  The first batch of students successfully completed the course in the month of August 2013 and they are now working as Resident Medical Physicist in various Cancer Institutes of the country as per mandatory internship.  The Institute is also conducting 2 years PG Diploma Programme in Radiotherapy Technology under Gauhati University and 2 years Diploma Programme for Radiotherapy Technicians under Srimanta Sankardeva University of Health Sciences, Assam.  With the permission of Medical Council of India, Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute has started 3 years Post Graduate MD course in Radiotherapy from the academic session 2013.  Dr. Venkataramana also visited newly installed Bhabhatron-II and Digital X-ray machine.  He appreciated collaboration with the Physics Department of Gauhati University. 



Doctors of the North East Region kick of a campaign to rid the NE States of Tobacco Epidemic

Tobacco use is a serious public health challenge in several regions of the world. It has assumed the dimension of an epidemic resulting in enormous disability, disease and death. It is estimated that five million preventable deaths occur every year globally, attributable to tobacco use. At this rate, the number of such deaths is expected to double by 2020. In addition to damage to personal health, tobacco use results in severe societal costs like reduced productivity and health care burden, environmental damage and poverty of the families. The degree of destruction brought to bear upon the individual and society surpasses the returns generated by tobacco production and consumption in terms of revenue and employment.

The North Eastern States has the highest tobacco consumption in India. Every 2nd man and every third women in Nagaland is addicted to tobacco. NE account for some of the highest burden of tobacco related illness in the entire country. Lacs of people in Assam would die prematurely due to illnesses such as Cancer, Heart Attack, lung diseases, stroke etc. It is well known that tobacco usage causes 100% poor oral health, 90% of mouth cancer, 80% of lung cancers, 50% of all human cancers, 70% of lung diseases, 60% of heart attacks. NE has some of the highest incidence of Lung Cancer in the entire world especially among women. As per Population Based Cancer Registry of the country, the incidence of cancer of mouth, tongue and hypopharynx in female in Urban Kamrup District is highest in the country. Similarly cancer of oesophagus is very high in Assam, Mizoram and East Khasi Hills. Cancer of stomach is significantly higher in the state of Mizoram and Sikkim. This is entirely due to rampant active and passive smoking / consumption of smokeless tobacco products amongst these states. This region is losing millions of young and middle age people due to this habit and it is important that the state governments have to play a pro-active role in combating the tobacco epidemic. Billions of rupees is being wasted on the health care of these largely preventable illnesses. It is estimated that the health care cost of tobacco is 10 times the revenue generated from tobacco products. The GDPs of the states will increase by 10% if they were to control tobacco comprehensively. This has to be done on a war footing with contribution from every ministry and every department. It is desirable that the Home Department / Ministry has to take necessary steps for proper implementation of anti-tobacco laws ‘COTPA-2003’. The Education Department / Ministry must ensure that kids are aware of tobacco hazards and remain unexposed to tobacco. The Finance Department / Ministry has to make tobacco prohibitively expensive. FDA ministry has to ENFORCE ban on Gutka under FSSAI. It is hoped that the Hon’ble Chief Ministers of NE states will provide political support to this multi-sectoral team in this noble mission.

Tobacco is a confirmed carcinogen as per WHO monograph published almost 2 decade back. Every cigarette reduces 7 minutes of life.

Tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. There are 3095 chemical components in tobacco, among them 28 are proven carcinogen. The major and most abundant group of carcinogens is the tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines (TSNA) and N-nitrosoamino acids. The nitrosamine level is directly related to the risk of cancer. Scientific evidence has established that tobacco chewing causes cancer of mouth, oesophagus (food pipe), larynx and pharynx (throat), pancreas, stomach, kidney and lung. It can also cause high blood pressure and other life threatening cardiovascular conditions like myocardial ischemia, stroke etc. The use of smokeless tobacco during pregnancy can cause still birth, low birth weight, premature delivery, anemia of mother and several complications during delivery.

Tobacco Consumption among NE states as per GATS (Global Adult Tobacco Survey), 2010:



Tobacco Prevalence



Smokeless tobacco

Arunachal Pradesh



































In an effort to initiate a strong anti-tobacco campaign, 25 doctors and officers from the North Eastern States had a meeting in the Conference Hall of Dr Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati on 7th September 2013. The meeting resolved to sensitize the policy makers for effective implementation of the anti-tobacco laws. The meeting was addressed by Dr. A. C. Kataki, Director, Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute; Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, Head & Neck Surgeon from Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai; Dr. Swasti Charan from Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India and Mr. Sanjay Seth, India Program Director, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), New Delhi. All the delegates present actively participated in the discussion.


MCI accorded permission to Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute
to start Post Graduate MD course in Radiotherapy

In a significant development the Medical Council of India has accorded permission to Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute to start 3 Years Post Graduate MD course in Radiotherapy under Srimanta Sankardeva University of Health Sciences, Assam from the academic session 2013.  Two students have already joined the Institute.  As per World Health Organization there should be one radiotherapy machine per 10 lakhs of population.  It is estimated that with total population of 3.2 crores in Assam, the State require at least 32 radiotherapy machines.  Presently, Assam has only 9 radiotherapy machines.  There is a shortfall of approximately 500 such machines in the country.  Similarly, one Radiotherapist is required for every machine as per Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) norms.  The State of Assam has about 12 numbers of radiotherapists.  With a view to overcome shortage of radiotherapist in the State of Assam and the North Eastern Region, the Institute for the first time has taken steps to generate human resource in the field of Radiation Oncology.  It may be stated that uptil now out of the five medical colleges, there was only one seat for MD (Radiotherapy) in Assam Medical College. 

Dr B. Borooah Cancer Institute in collaboration with the Department of Physics, Gauhati University started M.Sc course in Radiological Physics two years ago.  The first batch of six students successfully completed M.Sc course in August 2013.  They will now continue 1 year compulsory internship at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute and other Cancer Institutes of the country. As per the norms of Radiological Safety Division of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Govt. of India, one physicist per machine is the minimum requirement.  At present, Assam has about 10 medical physicists.  There is acute shortage of medical physicists in the country as there are only 3 or 4 universities in the country currently awarding M.Sc Degree in Medical / Radiological Physics.  It is hoped that M.Sc in Radiological Physics introduced by the Institute will fulfill the present and future requirement of North Eastern Region and the country.   

Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute has also started 2 Years Post Graduate Diploma Programme and 2 years Radiotherapy Technician course under University which are recognized by RSD. AERB, Govt. of India. 

To encourage medical research, the Institute has started Ph.D programme under Srimanta Sankardeva University of Health Sciences, Assam and Gauhati University.  Currently 5 students are pursuing Ph.D programme in the Institute.  In addition, 17 various academic courses are conducted by the Institute. 

The incidence of cancer in Assam and the North Eastern Region is significantly higher than the rest of the country as per Population Based Cancer Registry.  Cancer of oesophagus, hypopharynx, tongue, mouth, gall bladder, prostate, ovary, stomach, nasopharynx and lung are very high in the North Eastern Region.  The Institute has taken up 14 research projects with financial assistance from Indian Council of Medical Research and Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India to study prevalent cancers in the region. 

The Director, BBCI Dr. A. C. Kataki along with his colleagues shared the above information at a press conference held in the Auditorium of the Institute on 5th September 2013.  He also appealed to the students of Assam and North Eastern Region to pursue such promising academic courses in the Institute.  He further stated that most of the students who have successfully completed various courses in the Institute have been absorbed in different parts of the country. 

Teacher Day Celebration on 5th Sept 2013


( Lokabandhu Day Celebration of Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute on 4th September 2013 )

Dr B K Das delivering welcome address and other dignitaries

Sri D N Bezbaruah delivering speach on the Lokabandhu Day Celebration

A view of Procession on Cancer Awareness

Dr B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati celebrated ‘Lokabandhu Day’ with a day long programme on 4th September 2013. In this connection, a procession was brought out in the morning to create public awareness on cancer which ended with floral tribute at the statue of Lokabandhu Dr. Bhubaneswar Borooah in the Institute premises.  Sweets and snacks were also distributed to the indoor patients of the Institute.

A public meeting was also held in the Auditorium of the Institute at 2:00 PM, which was attended by Sri D. N. Bezbaruah, Former President – Editors’ Guild of India as Chief Guest.  Dr. B. K. Das, Chairman of the Organizing Committee while welcoming the delegates recollected the contribution of Dr. Bhubaneswar Borooah who was instrumental in converting the erstwhile Berry White Medical School into full fledged medical college in Dibrugarh in 1947.  Dr. Borooah founded the Assam Branch of Indian Medical Association in 1947.  He was instrumental in the establishment of Deaf and Dumb School at Guwahati.  Dr. Borooah was the Founder President of Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi TB Hospital established in 1954.  His sincere effort in establishment of Kasturba Ashram and Assam Ayurvedic College was also recollected.   

The Director, BBCI Dr. A. C. Kataki in his speech appealed to all the medical professionals to inculcate the ideals of Dr. Bhubaneswar Borooah.  He thanked all the employees of Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute for their hard work and dedication.  He emphasized on quality of care as bench mark for assessment of the standard of an institution.   

On the eve of the Teachers’ Day, Dr. R. K. Bhuyan, former Professor & Head, Dept. of Anatomy and Dr. Narayan Ch. Deka, Former Professor & Head, Dept. of Chemistry of Gauhati Medical College were felicitated for their outstanding contribution in the field of medical science. 

Sri D. N. Bezbaruah in his speech recollected his personal interaction as a child, with Lokabandhu Dr. Bhubaneswar Borooah and called upon the doctors to follow his selfless and dedicated service to the ailing people.


“Seminar cum live surgical workshop on Laryngo-pharyngeal Cancers at Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute, Gopinath Nagar, Guwahati-16”

Cancer is one of the leading cause of death in the developed as well as developing countries of the world and it kills more people worldwide than AIDS, malaria and TB combined altogether. The global burden of cancer continues to increase largely because of the aging and growth of the world population alongside an increasing adoption of cancer-causing behaviors, particularly using tobacco products, in developing countries like ours. The larynx (voice box) plays a central role in coordinating the functions of the aerodigestive tract, including respiration, speech and swallowing. Cancer of the laryngo-pharynx is one of the leading cancers of India particularly of the North Eastern region. The age adjusted incidence rate varies from 6 to 30 per one lakh population in both males and females in different parts of the North East India. Laryngo-pharyngeal cancers accounts for almost 18 % of all male cancer patients and 3% of all female patients attending at Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute.

The Clinical Society of Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute in association with the North Eastern Branch of the Association of Otolaryngologists of India (NEBAOI) is conducting one day live surgical workshop on “Total Laryngectomy & Voice Restoration” and a CME on “Multimodality management of Laryngo-pharyngeal Cancer” at Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute on 17.08.2013. Dr. D. Chaukar, Associate Professor of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology from Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, will attend the programme as a guest faculty. Patients with advanced cancers of the laryngo-pharynx require surgical removal of the larynx or the ‘voice box’. Nowadays, with the introduction of advanced voice prosthesis (device), these patients can have a near normal speech even after the complete removal of their voice box. The seminar will be followed by organizing a meet of the members of “Laryngectomy Club” on 18.08.2013 by the survivors of laryngo-pharyngeal cancers, who have continued to enjoy a healthy personal as well as a social life in spite of removal of their voice box. The programme will be attended by doctors working in the branch of ENT and Oncology from different parts of the North East India.


The new Secretary, North Eastern Council Shri Ameising Luikham, IAS paid a maiden visit to Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati on 1 st August 2013. The Director, BBCI Dr. A. C. Kataki welcomed Secretary, NEC on behalf of all the staffs of the Institute. During interaction with the doctors and officials of the Institute, the Secretary, NEC reaffirmed its commitment for infrastructure development of the Institute. Regarding difficulties faced by the Institute for recurring expenditure, the Secretary, NEC stated that the matter will be worked out very soon. He visited various diagnostic and treatment facilities and interacted with patients and staffs of the Institute. He was very happy to learn that Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute has all the state-of-the-art equipment for diagnosis and treatment of cancer. When enquired about any shortcomings in terms of equipment, the Director, BBCI stated that there is provision for commissioning of PET-CT scan machine in the next year. The Secretary, NEC expressed concern that in spite of 5 radiotherapy machines where patients are treated from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM, there is still waiting period for radiotherapy treatment approximately one month. The Director, BBCI informed that one new Cobalt machine is under the process of commissioning and this will reduce the waiting period. One more Linear Accelerator will be commissioned within next 2 years and it is hoped that waiting period for treatment will reduce further. The Secretary, NEC interacted with students from the North Eastern States who are currently pursuing various academic courses in the Institute. Many patients from the North Eastern States who are undergoing treatment also interacted with the Secretary, NEC. The Secretary enquired about particular types of cancer that are more common in the North Eastern States. The Director, BBCI informed that as per Population Based Cancer Registry of ICMR, the incidence of cancer is highest in the state of Mizoram followed by Urban Kamrup district. Cancer of stomach is very common in Mizoram and Sikkim whereas cancer oesophagus and oral cavity is very high in Assam and Meghalaya. Cancer of nasopharynx is very common in Nagaland (highest in the world) and Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. Cancer of liver and stomach is also very common in Arunachal Pradesh. The Director, BBCI informed that Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute has taken up various research projects on common cancers of the north eastern states. He further informed that there are limited cancer treatment facilities in the North Eastern Region and BBCI is the only comprehensive Cancer Treatment Centre imparting treatment, education and research. The Secretary, NEC highly appreciated the good work done by the staffs of the Institute. He reassured full support of NEC for overall growth of the premier cancer centre of the north eastern region.



            The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam Sri Tarun Gogoi inaugurated a New Deluxe Paying Cabin Block at Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati on 23rd February 2013 at a glittering function in presence of Dr. Umesh Chandra Sarma, Vice Chancellor Srimanta Sankardeva University of Health Sciences, Assam. 

            The new Deluxe Paying Cabins have been constructed at a total cost of Rs.1.13 crores with grants in aid from the North Eastern Council and Department of Atomic Energy, Govt. of India.  On the same day, PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) was also started in the Radiology Department of the Institute which is first of its kind in the public sector hospitals in the State of Assam. With this, images from various imaging modalities like CT Scan, MRI, Ultrasound, Endoscope, Digital Microscope, etc. can be transferred to a central radiology work station through server and Dicom connections where images can be stored and reporting can be made.  In future, computers in various outpatient departments will be connected with the central radiology work station where report can be made easily available.  The technology is also useful for tele-radiology.  

            A group of patients who are tobacco victims and undergoing treatment at Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute submitted a memorandum to Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam and made an appeal to ban all forms of smokeless tobacco products in the State of Assam at the earliest possible.  They also requested to initiate massive public awareness campaign for prevention and early detection of cancer.  It may be stated that incidence of cancer in Urban Kamrup District of Assam is second highest in the country as per Population Based Cancer Registry of National Cancer Registry Programme of ICMR.  About 60% of all cancers in men and about 30% of all cancers in women are tobacco related cancers in the State of Assam. 

            As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2010, consumption of tobacco prevalence in Assam is 39.3%.  Smokeless tobacco product is consumed by about 33% of the population.  Consumption of cigarettes and bidi are 8.8% and 5.3% respectively.  Twenty states in India have already banned Gutkha and Pan Masala containing tobacco or nicotine. 

            Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute has started academic courses for doctors in palliative medicine under Srimanta Sankardeva University of Health Sciences, Assam.  As large number of patients present in very advanced stage, palliative care is very important in Indian context.   The State of Kerala at present has the best Palliative Care Services in the country.  Only 3% of the population in India is under coverage of palliative care.  It is therefore very important that palliative care services should be largely available in the State of Assam. 

The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam in his inaugural speech highly appreciated the progress made by Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahhati.  He assured all possible help to the Institute.  The Hon’ble Chief Minister emphasized on prevention and early detection of cancer through massive public awareness campaigns.  He stated that a tobacco free north-east campaign will be started in Guwahati under his leadership in the first week of March this year.  He also informed that a bill will be placed in the next Assembly session to ban smokeless tobacco products in the State of Assam.

Many of the distinguished invitees present in the function also signed a pledge to save lives in Assam arising out of excessive consumption of tobacco products. 

Cancer patients (tobacco victims) submitting a memorandum to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam on 23.02.2013 with a request to ban smokeless tobacco products in the State of Assam

Chief Minister of Assam Sri Tarun Gogoi delivering a speech during inauguration of Deluxe Paying Cabin Block at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati on 23.02.2013

Chief Minister of Assam Sri Tarun Gogoi inside a Deluxe Paying Cabin at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati on 23.02.2013

Chief Minister of Assam Sri Tarun Gogoi unveiling the inaugural plaque of Deluxe Paying Cabin Block at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati on 23.02.2013


Chief Minister of Assam Sri Tarun Gogoi inaugurating Deluxe Paying Cabin Block at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati on 23.02.2013 by cutting ribbon.



Fourth February is celebrated worldwide as World Cancer Day every year. The main aim of world cancer day celebration is to generate cancer awareness. This year World Cancer Day focuses on dispelling damaging myths and misconception under the Tagline: “Cancer-Did you know”

Cancer is becoming a burning issue worldwide. North Eastern Region is showing an ever increasing cancer burden which is evident from the Hospital records of Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute which is catering to the need of entire North Eastern Region. The Annual Report of BBCI shows that the number of new patients reported in the year 2001-2002 was 5404 which increased to 8708 in the year 2011-12. Similarly, the number of OPD consultations also increased from 32694 (2001-02) to 54081(2011-12). This picture reveals very clearly how cancer burden is increasing in this region. Cancer is Preventable to a great extent. 80% of the cancers are due to our own ways and lifestyle. Tobacco being a major risk factor of cancer which is very prevalent behavior in North East. As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) Assam has high tobacco consumption in India with 40% of adults in the age group of 15 and above consuming tobacco in some form or the other. Lack of awareness about the risk factor of cancer and many myths and misconception about cancer being a major challenge in the field of cancer prevention. Dr. B. Borooah cancer Institute through its Department of Preventive Oncology is trying to prevent cancer throughout North Eastern states by conduction audiovisual community awareness, group discussions, Interactive sessions, School Health awareness, Cancer workshops, seminars and exhibitions, capacity development and training programs and early detection camps, mobile van awareness and IEC material distribution. This month, BBCI, in context to the world cancer day theme is giving more emphasis on dispelling myths and misconception about cancer. Month long activity is being planned which will be focusing on community awareness programme in rural areas of Assam along with schools and educational institutes of the city and tentative advocacy workshops on cancer risk factor reduction. On the morning of 4th February, the world cancer day, activity started with series of street plays organized by Preventive Oncology Department of BBCI with assistance from VHAA and song and drama division of Ministry of information and Broadcasting on myths and misconception about cancer in different areas of Guwahati city which began in front of the premier Institute itself and then was carried out in front of Arya Bidyapith College, Panbajar, in front of Cotton College, Handique Girls College, in front of HUB, In front of Guwahati University, Jalukbari and in front of Gauhati Commerce College, Guwahati. In these spots IEC materials on cancer awareness were also distributed. It was observed that maximum numbers of cancers were reported in the Institute during last year were from Kamrup, Nagaon and Dhubri. So these districts were taken into focus for IEC coverage and IEC materials were distributed in these districts on this occasion. IEC also distributed in Suwalkushi & Golaghat district. Every day thousands of people visits BBCI outdoor including cancer patients and their attendants. Many of them come from remote areas of Assam as well as many North Eastern states. Lack of awareness and prevalence of misconception about cancer is very evident in many of these visitors. Taking into account the theme of World Cancer day 2013 series of in-house group discussions along with interactive sessions and IEC material distribution was undertaken by the Department of Preventive Oncology covering around 1700 people which included outdoor and indoor patients and their attendants. Media plays a very important role to dispel damaging myths and misconception about cancer. A talk by Dr. A. C Kataki, Director, BBCI was telecasted for mass public awareness on cancer through NE Doordarshan.

It’s better to prevent and prepare than to repent and repair. So, let us be aware and prevent cancer.



Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati has been regularly conducting recreational programme for patients undergoing treatment in the Institute.  The employees of the Institute are also committed for various social activities.  In spite of significant growth in various fields in our country, many people are still deprived of basic amenities like food, shelter, water supply, electricity etc.  In the winters of December when we prepare to celebrate Christmas and New Year, many people still do not have sufficient clothes to protect them cold.  Many sleeps in the pavements of the street.  Small contributions from each and every one of us in the society can make a significant difference in the lives of the people around us. 

As a mark of small and yet humble step, the employees of Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute distributed blankets and eatables to the peoples living in the pavements of the streets in front of Sukleswar Temple on 24.12.2012 at 11:30 AM.  It is hoped that many people and NGOs will come forward for the aid of the needy people.  Together we can change the world. 


Our attention has been drawn to an article titled ‘CANCEROR ANSWER’ written by Sri Dilip Kumar Goswami and published in Assamese Daily AMAR ASOM on 3 rd and 4 th November 2008. The article is undoubtedly, an excellent ‘review of the book’ ‘CANCER STEP OUTSIDE THE BOX’ written by Ty M. Bollinger, but certainly cannot be considered as a medical review article on cancer. We have little scientific knowledge on the modality of the treatment called ‘INSULIN POTENTIATION THERAPY’ in the management of Cancer. This form of therapy in real sense cannot be termed as an alternative discipline of medicine, as the drugs used in IPT are allopathic in nature. As students of Science and also as physicians, we respect all forms of alternative medicine, which are based on sound scientific foundation. I have discussed the subject with my colleagues in the Institute since I strongly believe that it is not possible to know each and everything in the medical field. It is a vast sea of knowledge. We have also consulted renowned oncologists of our country about IPT and they too have expressed serious reservations. We have perused the website mentioned in the article advocating IPT and also reviewed the medical literature written on the subject.

In the article, Mr. Goswami has almost in unequivocal terms - with the help of Bollinger’s book - tried to give an impression to the public that cure for cancer has not been made possible due to the greed of the doctors for money, across the world in connivance with the pharmaceutical companies. The statement like this is derogatory and is an act of over simplification to belittle the contemporary history of research and development in the field of oncology. The contribution made by two-time Nobel Laureate Madame Curie (1903 Nobel Prize in Physics, 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry) towards discovery of radium and its subsequent application in the field of radiation oncology cannot be termed a meaningless discovery. In the same way, the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the year 2008, which was awarded to Chairman and the Director of German Cancer Research Centre, Dr. Zerald zur Hausen, for his contribution in the development of HPV Vaccine for control of cervical cancer in woman, cannot be viewed as a discovery for minting money.

The advent of newer chemotherapeutic drugs have completely changed the outcome of childhood blood malignancy (acute lymphatic leukaemia) and acute lymphatic leukaemia can be cured in as high as 80-90% of the cases. Some of the aggressive germ cell tumours which were earlier incurable can now be cured completely with the advent of newer chemotherapeutic drugs like cisplatin, bleomycin and etoposide in late 1970s. These are only some of the fewer examples of latest developments in the field of medical oncology. The development of molecular genetics in oncology has resulted targeted chemotherapy with monoclonal antibody and various research projects are undergoing at present.

Today, whatever is our knowledge and understanding of the disease called Cancer, it is because of numerous painful research works of medical scientists and molecular biologists. In 1971, United States embarked on National Cancer Plan, and its aim was to find a cure for cancer, using the similar kind of massive, precisely targeted research work that put the man on the moon. The various treatment strategies, which have come out today, are the results of scientific works and research.

Over the years, Cancer survivals have improved largely due to contribution in the field of oncology. Data collected from Population Based Cancer Registry in the United States through SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) programme of the National Cancer Institute have showed significant improvement in treatment results from 1988 to 1997 than the earlier period of 1975 to 1987. This study was conducted on 17,79,458 number of cancer patients from 1975 to 1997. This report was published in the journal ‘Arch Intern Med’ in 2002. These findings have continued to inspire many people involved in the practice of medicine to work for further improvement in treatment outcome in a systematic scientific manner. Gone are the days of ‘opinion based’ management of diseases and today it has been replaced by ‘evidence based practice’. Present day treatment of cancer today is globally carried out based on evidence gathered through collection and evaluation of large amount of data, clinical trials and multi-centric meta analysis etc. A variety of tools and techniques have been developed to assess efficacy and effectiveness of various options of treatment. One can’t simply start or advocate a policy without examining various issues like cost effectiveness, scientific, legal or ethical considerations. Anything that is sensational may not be science.

It is difficult to imagine how can a so-called effective treatment modality be suppressed in the world since its introduction in 1932 by a ‘greedy’ group of doctors. The circumstances which led Dr. Linus Pauling, the two-time Nobel Laureate, to comment “Most cancer research is largely a fraud” as referred to, is very much unclear.

Dr. Linus Pauling was awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 for his research into the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex substances. He was again awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1963 for his contribution towards nuclear disarmament. We don’t have the audacity to question the knowledge and integrity of Dr. Pauling. It is however known that Dr. Pauling published a paper in 1978, which claimed high cure rate of cancer patients treated with high dose of Vitamin-C. Subsequent 3 different studies conducted in Mayo Clinic (one study was International Multi-institutional) involving 367 patients failed to observe improvement in survival by this modality of treatment. In 1982, William D.DeWys, Chief of the clinical investigations branch of the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer therapy programme, pointed out faulty study design carried out by Scottish Surgeon Ewan Cameron and Linus Pauling.

In medical science, we hear about individual (anecdotal) case reports claiming better results. These individual reports guide us for further scientific study on large number of subjects through Phase-III clinical trial for meaningful conclusion.

We would like to mention an article written by Robert Baratz, M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D., who is the President of the National Council Against Health Fraud in United States. In his article ‘Why You Should Stay Away from Insulin Potentiation Therapy’ he has made startling revelations in the context of the Ayre’s Website claim on the efficacy of IPT. In the article, Baratz has mentioned that Ayre did attend a meeting of NIH (National Institute of Health) Advisory Panel at which possible preliminary investigation was discussed. However, there has been no visible evidence that the suggested data collection had taken place. The study was ordered to shut down in January 2001 after the FDA concluded that it was run improperly. It is curious that the study is still mentioned on Ayre’s website even though it was cancelled. The article also says that treatment with Insulin in a non-diabetic patient can result in rapid fall of blood sugar level leading to coma, shock and even death. No major medical school, hospital or other institutions has embarked on a clinical trial largely because the therapy is dangerous, potentially lethal if too much insulin is administered, and does not have a sound biological basis. Besides the danger of insulin shock and death, use of low dose chemotherapy can foster the development of resistant cancer cell strains. Thus, IPT can prevent appropriate chemotherapy from working later and make an otherwise curable cancer incurable.

In 2003, a scientific journal reported that women with breast cancer treated with methotrexate plus insulin did better than women treated with methotrexate alone. Although the report suggests that insulin may have a short-term effect, it did not have any data on long-term effects or health outcomes. Moreover, in 2007, two of its five authors were charged with fraud in connection with another cancer scam, which may mean that their 2003 data are not trustworthy.

There is no published evidence that insulin causes more drug to enter the cancer cells or that giving insulin enables chemotherapy drugs to build up within these cells while sparing normal cells.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that despite individual (anecdotal) reports, there are no published scientific studies available showing that IPT is safe or effective in treating cancer in humans. IPT may also have serious side effects. One very small-published study that looked at IPT was done in Uruguay. It included 30 women with breast cancer that was resistant to mainstream therapies. This study did not look at survival, quality of life, well-being, or lasting effects. No long-term improvements were shown by this study. There is no evidence that people who reported being helped by IPT were followed up long enough to find out if the treatment worked.

In a report of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, New York, states that IPT remains an unproven cancer therapy until there are more studies available to validate its benefit.

Despite supporters’ claims that IPT has been well researched, scientific studies that show safety and effectiveness have not been published in available peer reviewed journals. These claims cannot be verified.

Insulin has not been approved by the FDA to lower blood sugar to abnormal levels. Even when used as prescribed, it can be dangerous in some: An estimated 2-4% of deaths in people with Type-1 diabetes are due to low blood sugar.

Relying on this type of treatment alone, and avoiding or delaying standard medical care for cancer, may have serious health consequences.

The cost of treatment of IPT over a period of 3-4 weeks in USA is approximately $15,500 to $17,500. This means, in Indian context, it will be approximately Rs.7,00,000 – Rs.8,00,000/- for such treatment.

Rising interest in alternative medicine has, of late, come from the fact that some cancers are not curable despite best efforts. Many people continue to die from this disease. It is natural, as the Swiss Psychologist Elizabeth Kublar Ross says, that cancer patients and relatives go through some stages like that of denial, anger and depression before finally accepting the harsh reality of life and ravages of cancer. No doctor will wish any new option to fail, which can bring cure to cancer patients. The medical fraternity would be glad to embrace effective cure, if it is based on scientific evaluation. Doctors have nothing to loose, rather gain, God forbids, at least in a situation when cancer befallen on them.

We will be more than happy to accept this modality of treatment if all the unanswered questions involving IPT are addressed through large, well-controlled, prospective, randomized, multi-institutional international trial. Its clinical use should be preceded by a phase-I trial on animal models followed by phase-II trial on small number of human subjects before undertaking a phase-III clinical trial on large number of patients.

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