Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics, Vol. 7, No. 4, October-December, 2011, pp. 503-504
Interview of Dr. Ramesh Bilimagga in conversation with Dr. Sapna Gupta
Ramesh S Bilimagga1, Sapna Gupta2
1 Bangalore Institute of Oncology, Healthcare Global Enterprise Ltd., Bangalore, India
Code Number: cr11135
SA: You have been the chairman of ICRO for the past one year. What role does it play? Is there a scope for change in ICRO?
RB: Yes, I have been the chairman of ICRO for the past one year. I was also the secretary of ICRO for two years about 10 years back. Having been actively involved in ICRO activities, I know it is definitely playing an increasingly active role in academic activities such as conducting continuing medical education programs for post graduate students twice a year in various academic centers in INDIA and also a one-day pre-annual conference CME program at the conference venue. Last year, it involved the joint program of ESTRO - AROI CME conducted in Chandigarh. This year again it will be actively participating in ASTRO- AROI. CME is going to be held at TMH Mumbai. Certainly, there is a scope for further improvement in its activities such as number of CMEs can be increased and it can also be held in different parts of INDIA simultaneously which will help more number of students to participate. In the days of conformal radiation therapy, it is advisable to add a few workshops on contouring sessions.
At present, ICRO is concentrating only on post graduate students. It may be good to extend this to young radiation oncologists who are within ten years from the date of passing of their post graduate degree.
As the number of centers with more modern facilities are coming up and we also have quite a number of institutions which do not have all the modern radiotherapy gadgets, a few of these institutions can be recognized by ICRO for continuous training for others.
SA: Should we make ICRO accrediting in the area of Radiation Oncology?
RB: As the number of Radio Therapy centers in our country is increasing by leaps and bounds, it certainly needs accreditation of the centers to ensure good quality care. This work can be done by ICRO along with its parent body AROI.
SA: Radio therapy has progressed by quantum leaps.
Of course, this progress has made the treatment more expensive. How do you look at this progress and escalating cost?
RB: It is true that the radiation oncology treatment costs are mounting. It is also the same story in all the health care sectors - be it cardiology, medical oncology, surgical oncology or any other branch of medicine. We as professionals should advise what is best for the patient and the hospital management along with various funding agencies including government and non governmental bodies should join hands in meeting the health economic demand. In fact, this is a global phenomenon and even developing countries are facing this challenge.
SA: Is there any role for cobalt machine in the present day radio therapy practice?
RB: During the last century, radiation oncologists have moved from deep X-ray era to cobalt era. Now over the past two decades, there is a tremendous improvement in the linac, which is more accurate and versatile in treatment delivery. In certain cases, dose escalation to the tumor is also possible. Therefore, certainly time has come now to move from the cobalt to linear accelerator.
SA: There are companies marketing cobalt with IMRT, what's your comment?
RB: Tele cobalt machine for decades remained stagnant in its up gradation whereas linear accelerator caught up its improvement in the technology. Hence cobalt manufacturer now woke up to the situation and have started adding paraphernalia to improve the cobalt technology. However, these improvements are also going to cost in the same line as the linac IMRT. In that event, we as users will not be benefited by this technological improvement.
SA: What is your vision for AROI which many people think can do more than organizing annual conference?
RB: In fact over a period of time, AROI has grown beyond just organizing annual conferences. It is encouraging young radiation oncologists by awarding various fellowships to get a good training in higher centers to upgrade their knowledge and skill. It has also joined hands with international organizations such as ASTRO and ESTRO for international collaborative educational programs. This year, AROI has initiated formation of a research wing to conduct clinical trials. AROI is also having Annual meeting with AERB regarding radiation regulations and other issues. AROI is also bringing out a reputed indexed journal. In addition to these, it certainly can play more role in formulating a uniform syllabus for post graduate students throughout INDIA, and the formulating of accreditation for radiation therapy centers and having a dialogue with central government and statutory bodies regarding any other radiation applications.
Copyright 2011 - Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics
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