Mumbai: Mriduchanda Nag, 42, is a resident of Mumbai. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Confused by multiple alternative treatments suggested by her doctors, she wanted to seek a second opinion.
However, she did not want to go through the lengthy process of hospital queues and waiting again.
To her rescue came ‘Navya’, an initiative that allows cancer patients to upload their medical reports and receive a second opinion from doctors across the country. The cost of online consultation is Rs 6,500 and the hospital promises to deliver reports within 24 hours.
The process involves patient’s registration on the website, paying of the processing fee and uploading of test reports. The reports are then shared with multiple doctors who are a part of the National Cancer Grid and the most reliable opinions are relayed to the patient.
Patients need to fill in a detailed questionnaire that covers detail about age, background history, genetic history and mobility. “The report is recorded from all parameters as chemotherapy has a lot of side-effects. The compiled report is then sent to the doctors who give their recommendation,” said Ms Nag.
The initiative, launched in 2014 by Tata Memorial Hospital along with the NGO Navya, has over 10,000 people who have reached out for expert opinion through the website.
The patients are just not rooted in India and have sought opinion from over 22 countries around the world.
According to Pradeep Srivastava, a member of NGO Navya, the country has close to 2,000 oncologists who are based in all the major metro cities. If one looks for domain experts, there are only a few hundreds of them. However, the number of cancer patients in the country is 2.8-3 million.
The initiative, he says, aims to bridge this gap of a poor patient-to-oncologist ratio and also provide an affordable consultancy to the patients.
Dr Rajendra Badwe, director at Tata Memorial Centre, who receives about 500 reports from cancer patients in a month, said that opinion of an expert is given after following evidence-based guidelines and considering all options by doctors who have treated similar cases.