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From 12 Bed Hospital to India's Top Oncology Unit, How Dr V Shanta Helped Establish Cancer Institute

Dr V Shanta passed away in Chennai on Tuesday. 
(Photo: Twitter)

Dr V Shanta passed away in Chennai on Tuesday. (Photo: Twitter)

Dr Shanta's work in cancer care study won her several awards, including the Magsaysay Award, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan.

Dr V Shanta, renowned oncologist and chairperson of the Cancer Institute passed away at a private hospital in Chennai on Tuesday morning. She was 93. Shanta is noted for her outstanding contribution to cancer care.

The late doctor was rushed to the hospital late in the evening on Monday after she complained of chest pain. She had a massive block which could not be removed and passed away at about 3.55 am.

But who was Dr Shanta who helped build the Cancer Institute? From pediatric oncology unit to duty exemption of cancer drugs, Dr Shanta made some landmark contributions to cancer care in India.

The following Twitter thread enlists some of her remarkable interventions to cancer care in India.

Her work in cancer care study won her several awards, including the Magsaysay Award, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan. In fact, Shanta hailed from a family of Nobel laureates like Sir CV Raman and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. Shanta completed her MBBS in 1949, DGO in 1952 and MD, in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1955. That year, she joined the fledgling Cancer Institute,

that was established in 1954 by the Women's Indian Association Cancer Relief Fund, as its Resident Medical Officer. She took up the job instead of joining the Women & Children's Hospital, Chennai, as the Assistant Surgeon.

From a cottage hospital with 12 beds, she helped establish the Cancer Centre of national and

international stature along with Dr Krishnamurthi.

She was the force behind the first cancer registry in India, and pioneered in several aspects including initiating the first screening program in India for cancer besides establishing the first pediatric oncology unit at the institute.

"She also started pediatric oncology as a specialty in India and helped significantly in progress of the specialty. The first pediatric oncology unit in India was established in Cancer Institute in 1960. She was the first pediatric oncologist in India," Dr Venkatraman Radhakrishnan, Medical and pediatric oncologist said.

first published:January 19, 2021, 13:03 IST
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