The 20th edition of RGCON, the annual international conference of Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre (RGCIRC) Delhi will be held on the theme of “Frontiers in Uro Oncology” on 15th, 16th and 17th April, 2022 at New Delhi. In tandem with the multimodal approach being used to treat cancers, all the three departments of medical oncology, surgical oncology and radiation oncology have come together to hold RGCON 2022. As one-of-its-kind conclave of medical fraternity, RGCON holds a special place in the healthcare calendar of the country.
RGCON’22 Organising Team
RGCON will have faculty from all leading hospitals in India including AIIMS, Tata Memorial Hospital Mumbai, Varanasi, HCG Bangalore, HCG Ahmedabad and about 15 faculties drawn from major cancer care centres around the world.
With more basic research, real-world clinical practice patterns, and in-depth discussions of data, RGCON 2022 will help to expand the knowledge and explore the latest in Oncology for all the participants.
The scientific program includes workshop, lectures, and panel discussions/debates & has been designed to include diagnostic as well as therapeutic Uro-Oncology.
Speaking about the new drug therapies, Dr. Vineet Talwar Director – Medical Oncology, RGCIRC said, “Earlier it used to be only chemotherapy or hormonal therapy for treatment of urinary tract cancers. Increasingly, targeted therapy and immunotherapy are assuming a major role since the side effects of these therapies are far less and translate in improvement in the quality of life. For instance in case of cancer of the urinary bladder where patients generally present themselves in the elderly age group, immunotherapy can be easily tolerated as compared to conventional chemotherapy. Secondly, the results of immunotherapy drugs are found to be equal to chemotherapy or even better so, these can be used alone, or in combination with chemotherapy drugs to potentiate their benefit.”
“Today, the detection rates of urinary tract cancers have gone up because of specialized techniques available. For example, in prostate cancer, there is a special kind of a PSMA (Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen) PET CT scan, that provides better sensitivity and specificity as compared to the conventional FDG PET CT Scan,” said Dr. Talwar.
Symptoms of urinary tract cancers such as bleeding in urine, burning in urine, restriction in the flow of urine manifest much earlier and can be cured if diagnosed early and treatment commenced. However awareness is an issue in India besides financial constraints. If a patient is under treatment of a general practitioner and not getting cured for 4-6 weeks, there needs to be a high index of suspicion and one should go for higher investigation.
Affordability of targetted therapy and immunotherapy drugs is a practical issue. Fortunately in some cases, generic drugs have come in which are more affordable. Dr Talwar advised in favour of a healthy lifestyle, proper diet, exercise and normal sleeping hours and avoiding addiction to smoking/alcohol to prevent the cancers to a large extent.
According to Dr. Munish Gairola, Director Radiation Oncology RGCIRC, “Radiation oncology as a field has progressed rapidly especially in terms of precision and targeted treatments. One such example is the use of cyberknife that uses hypofractionation; high dose per fraction which reduces treatment time considerably. Similarly another technique that will be discussed at RGCON’22 is proton beam therapy which has revolutionised management of urological malignancies especially prostatic cancer. The uniqueness of this conference lies in the sheer amount of human exposure present at the conference with both national and international senior faculties with exclusive working experience in urological cancers.”
RGCON is a prime example of a multidisciplinary approach with high end academic discussion involving case discussions, clinical oriented scenarios and technical demonstrations on contouring and planning. Prostatic brachytherapy is well practiced treatment option where many renowned institutes follow uniform international consensus on LDR or HDR. This is the reason we have kept a session where both Indian and international perspectives are discussed and correlated.
According to Dr. Amitabh Singh, Consultant, Department of Genito-Uro Oncology at RGCIRC, “New techniques for the cancer surgery will be a centre of attraction at the RGCON. For instance in case of prostate cancer surgery, Dr. S Rawal will be demonstrating Retizius Sparing Radical Prostatectomy. For kidney cancers, 3D reconstruction model will be discussed that helps in planning of the surgery as it has been shown to decrease the intraoperative time besides post-operative complications.”
“Robotic surgery helps us exercise control much like open surgery with the advantages of the laparoscopic surgeries like very small incision, less blood loss, less post-operative pain, early post-operative recovery and early discharge from the hospital and also less post-operative wound related complications,” added Dr. Singh.
Among the prostate, urinary bladder and kidney cancers, prostate cancer is more common. Worldwide it is the second most common cancer. In India too, the incidence is very high since we are detecting more and more prostate cancers in their early stages with the help of biomarkers like PSA.
“For kidney cancer, there are three risk factors namely obesity, high blood pressure and smoking. For bladder cancer, the most common risk factor is smoking and exposure to heavy metals like arsenic. It has been observed that obesity, high fat diet, consumption of red meat, are all a known risk factor for the prostate cancer,” added Dr. Amitabh.