9 November 2013
Citizens Hospital and American Oncology Institute introduce lung cancer screening program to hyderabad

In recent years, air pollution in Hyderabad has increased. Smoking remains rampant and continues to attract young people. Asbestos use continues in an unregulated fashion. As a result, incidence of lung diseases has reached epidemic levels. While tuberculosis has always been prevalent in India, physicians now see increased incidence of lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and mesothelioma.

India needs more physicians with training, particularly in surgery, to diagnose and treat these complex lung problems and combat their expansion. In response, Citizens Hospital and American Oncology Institute(AOI) have developed a lung center equipped with the latest technology. The center's physicians deliver cutting-edge therapies in a minimally-invasive fashion. Together with hospital leadership, they conceived the center as a resource for the healthcare community of Andhra Pradesh, a means to increase awareness about the reach of lung diseases and a training destination for other physicians.

One of the initiatives of this center is the establishment of a lung cancer screening program. This program, the one of its kind in Andhra Pradesh, offers lung cancer screening following guidelines from the National Lung Screening Trial. Published in 2011, the trial determined lung cancer screening using low-dose CT scans reduces deaths from lung cancer by 20% when compared to chest x-rays, an older and less effective method of screening. As a result of these findings, which originally appeared the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, the American Lung Association now recommends screening with low-dose CT scans following a specific set of guidelines based on a patient's age, history and other factors. The Citizens-AOI program, led by physicians with experience at many top hospitals in India, UK and US, is believed to be one of the early initiators in India to adopt strict adherence to the guidelines from this trial.

This effort is particularly important because there is no awareness for early detection of lung cancer in many regions of the world, including India. Unlike breast cancer and prostate cancer, where awareness is slowly increasing, it is virtually non-existent when it comes to lung cancer. It is hoped that this program will raise awareness for the fact that lung cancer can be detected early and can be cured if done so.

"Around the world, and especially in India, lung cancer patients often do not visit the doctor or get an accurate diagnosis until far too late in many cases," commented Dr. Sai Yendamuri, Head of Thoracic Surgery at Citizens Hospital. "Screening according to these new guidelines helps us identify cases earlier, when we have more treatment options and treatment is more effective," he added.

A primary reason lung cancer has confounded physicians is the difficulty involved in diagnosing it accurately during its early stages. In many cases, initial symptoms of lung cancer mimic symptoms that of bronchitis or TB. Particularly in the case of Pulmonary TB, physicians are often eager to prescribe treatment for what are perceived to be serious health problems. Unfortunately, this situation creates two concerns. First, antibiotics prescribed for TB don't help patients experiencing the early stages of lung cancer get better. And second, overuse of antibiotics can actually cause broader spread of TB in the country.

In addition to physical examination and consultation with a doctor, the screening program uses a low-dose CT protocol to find abnormalities; it reduces radiation exposure for patients by a factor of four. The doctors administering the program want to help patients overcome any fear or reluctance about use of advanced imaging to find health problems early. Evidence shows that advanced medical imaging holds a key part in preventive medicine and has value in slowing the spread of lung cancer.

A unique aspect of this program is the strong emphasis on smoking cessation. Patients will be counseled regarding the importance of cessation, of smokers the various benefits of giving up smoking and the various methods available to stop smoking. The program will provide access to the latest techniques in giving up this addiction.

For most patients, lung cancer screening yields negative findings, meaning they don't have the disease. For patients with negative findings, screening also helps eliminate unnecessary surgeries or any therapy. However, for those who do undergo screening and have positive findings, the choice can be a life-saving one. On top of offering lung cancer screening based on the latest guidelines, the institute offers surgical, medical and radiation treatment for the disease as indicated based on the latest international standards for care, including use of TrueBeam, the world's most powerful, precise and versatile machine for treating cancer with radiation therapy.

The Citizens Hospital-AOI lung cancer screening program combines resources from multiple departments - primarycare, pulmonology, radiology, pathology, surgery, medical and radiation oncology. It reflects the institution's commitment to provide true team-based, multidisciplinary care. Strong collaboration across different medical specialties makes it possible to offer this type of lung cancer screening, which brings the world's best medical evidence to the patients of Hyderabad and confronts one of India's pressing healthcare issues head on.

This press meet corresponding to this media release was chaired by Dr. M. Babaiah, Medical Director at American Oncology Institute; Dr. Praveen Sangu, Consultant Internal Medicine at Citizens Hospital; Dr. Suguna Chirla, Medical Oncologist at American Oncology Institute; and Dr. Hima Tadimeti, Consultant Radiologist at Citizens Hospital.

About Citizens Hospital and American Oncology Institute

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.

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.

Contact:

P N Nagender Rao, Manager – Business Development
American Oncology Institute
Telephone No : 040 6719 9999
Mobile No : 9949113131 / 9848123822
E-mail Id :nagenderrp@americanoncology.com
Website : www.americanoncology.com

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