Citizens Hospital and American Oncology Institute announce the opening of Mesothelioma center of excellence following top global standards
A new form of surgical expertise has arrived in Hyderabad. Within the past few months, Dr. Sai Yendamuri, MD (AIIMS), Citizens Hospital and American Oncology Institute have combined efforts to open one of the first centers of excellence for mesothelioma care in India. The new center’s objective coincides with Citizens Hospital and American Oncology Institute’s mission to bring specialty healthcare matching top US standards to the patients of India.
Dr. Yendamuri, a thoracic surgeon who trained and practiced at world-leading hospitals such as Texas Heart Institute, MD Anderson Cancer Center and Roswell Park Cancer Institute, has acquired special skills and experience available only at such prestigious research institutions. He commented, “Diagnosing and treating mesothelioma require special expertise, and only a select group of hospitals around the world provide it. When I returned to India to after years of practice in the US, I wanted to set up a center offering world-class treatment to patients suffering from mesothelioma, a condition that is undoubtedly under-reported in India.”
Mesothelioma, a relatively rare but aggressive form of cancer, attacks the thin layer of cells that lines the body’s internal organs. Different forms of the disease exist, but they share two common threads. All three are caused by exposure to a material called asbestos. And they all can take 20 to 30 years or more to manifest themselves after exposure, which comes from inhaling asbestos fiber particles into the lungs.
“Use of asbestos has decreased in most of the world, but it remains relatively high in India. Besides, patients who present with mesothelioma today are actually patients who handled asbestos or experienced exposure to it many years ago,” says Dr. Yendamuri, Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Citizens. People who work, or have worked, in asbestos mines or in industries where materials containing asbestos have the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. Their families can be at risk, too, since workers often bring the asbestos dust home on their bodies or their clothing.
Many workers who have been exposed to asbestos may not realize it. The substance is often mixed into cement or cement-based products, often without the knowledge from people either making or consuming the products in question. Miners, construction or factory workers, ship builders and auto mechanics have demonstrated a high risk for developing mesothelioma. Risk for the disease is not limited to workers from these fields, however.
Because of the time the elapses between exposure and contraction of the disease, on top of the fact that mesothelioma symptoms mimic symptoms of other, more common diseases like TB or bronchitis, mesothelioma is almost indefinitely dramatically under-diagnosed in India.
Recently, a 72 year-old patient diagnosed with mesothelioma consulted Dr. Yendamuri to explore treatment options. The patient had previously consulted many oncologists and surgeons in India, all of whom deemed his condition incurable and recommended palliative chemotherapy. Upon evaluating the patient’s symptoms and presentation, Dr. Yendamuri and his team of doctors offered a comprehensive multimodality treatment plan, meaning they incorporated treatment from several different methods for a single patient.
Following the latest international research and protocols, Dr. Yendamuri and his team worked with medical oncologists at American Oncology Institute to administer three cycles of chemotherapy and then a surgery called a radical pleurectomy with decortication and intrapleural heated chemotherapy, potentially the first of its kind in India. Because of the nature of mesothelioma, surgery as part of a multimodality treatment plan is typically the best option for a cure.
In the procedure, which lasted nearly twelve hours, Dr. Yendamuri removed the patient’s tumors, while leaving his lung intact. To enhance treatment of the microscopic tumor, he irrigated the patient’s chest cavity with a mix of heated chemotherapy agents for one and a half hours using a special pump, part of the technology required to perform such a surgery successfully. Both during the surgery and after it, the patient was cared for by a team of highly qualified anesthesiologists and intensive care specialists in Citizen Hospital’s state of the art ICU. The patient underwent a normal recovery and has returned to normal life at home.
This case represents an ideal example of the potential when world-class physicians and local hospitals come together with a common goal to bring the world’s latest healthcare options to Indian patients. Dr. Yendamuri’s expertise and the skills of other Citizens Hospital and American Oncology Institute doctors have combined to offer mesothelioma patients in India new hope for a cure and to advance healthcare options in Hyderabad to the latest global healthcare frontier.
About American Oncology Institute and Citizens Hospital
American Oncology Institute provides radiation and medical oncology treatment based on US standards of care and guidelines developed by leading physicians at US academic hospitals. Dr. M. Babaiah, MD, South India’s preeminent radiation oncologist, serves as AOI’s Medical Director. Dr. Buddharaju, MD, American board-certified with 20 years of practice experience in the US is Chief of Medical Oncology. In addition to providing the same style and caliber of cancer care found at top hospitals in the US, AOI features state-of-the art technology such as the TrueBeam linear accelerator, the Calypso System and 16-slice 4-D PET/CT imaging not widely available in South India. AOI is located on the campus of Citizens Hospital.
Citizens Hospital provides top-flight surgical oncology services under the direction of the preeminent surgeon, Dr. Chandrasekhar Rao, MS, MCh. Additionally, Citizens Hospital provides protocol-driven healthcare based on the latest medical evidence across a broad range of medical specialties for inpatients and outpatients. Citizens Hospital values quality and invests technology. Its medical staff consists of experts recognized not only for their clinical abilities but their ability to work as a team to get the best outcomes for patients and extend top-level care with compassion. Most importantly, Citizens Hospital has planted itself firmly in Hyderabad to deliver world-class healthcare to community that it serves.
P N Nagender Rao, Manager – Business Development
American Oncology Institute
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