The Medical Oncology Department, which deals with the treatment of cancer, was started in the year 2000 by Dr K.B. Akila, later Dr Bharath Rangarajan also contributed to its growth. Facilities for offering chemotherapy, (the use of medication to destroy cancer cells) for all types of cancers including blood cancer, as well as counselling for radiotherapy or the use of high-energy radiation to treat cancer are available.
The department is headed by Dr Madhulika Vijayakumar, Radiation Oncologist. As part of the breast cancer awareness month, conducted in October 2012, the department offered 150 free screening mammograms. Mammography refers to an X-ray picture of the breast to detect cancer in women who do not have any other symptoms of the disease.
Dr Madhulika Vijayakumar, Head of the Department of Medical Oncology
The department plans to evolve into a full-fledged comprehensive cancer treatment facility and offer a postgraduate course in Oncology as well. It plans to begin a bone marrow transplant program apart from starting a separate ward for leukaemia (cancer of blood cells). Plans are on to offer Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), a method by which radiation is directed with extraordinary precision to tumours. This enables direct radiation to cancer cells while sparing healthy tissues.
The department also has organ-specific surgeons who offer surgeries, including those to treat cancers of head and neck, breast and bone. The hospital also has a blood bank, which functions round the clock and offers all blood products, which is vital for the functioning of any medical oncology department. Cancer screening for both men and women as well as counselling of family members of affected patients are also offered by the department.
This department is unique in that it is the only oncology department in Coimbatore that combines patient care with teaching and other academic activities affiliated to a medical college.
Cancer is curable if detected early. Since prevention is better than cure the Department lays emphasis on Preventive Oncology, screening and awareness regarding cancer. The Department of Oncology offers its services to patients with all kinds of cancer and for screening and prevention.