On Thursday, as the world celebrated world cancer day, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai launched a unique one-stop breast clinic that would help women with any breast-related symptoms such as lesions, lumps, pain or unusual discharge get a quick diagnosis, within just two hours.
The clinic was inaugurated by the Founder and Chairman of Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani. In a video message, she said that Sir HN Reliance Foundation hospital aims to provide world-class healthcare to every Indian at an affordable cost. Talking about the breast clinic, Ambani said, "Oncology has been one of our thrust areas from the very beginning. Today, on World Cancer Day, 2021, we are proud to set the bar even higher. As an Indian and as a woman, it is my greatest honour to announce the launch of a one-stop breast clinic."
"Women are inherent multitaskers. They look after children and families, manage homes and offices, and balance personal and professional lives. But they often neglect or don't find the time for their health and well-being. Let's change that. Let us remember, that when we are fitter, healthier and stronger, we radiate that wellness in every role we play," she added.
Dr Tarang Gianchandani, CEO at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, told News18 that this is the first time a one-stop breast clinic has opened in Mumbai. She added that such clinics are found in several countries abroad, but it is a very new concept in India.
"The vision for this clinic came from our chairperson more than a year back, and we have worked hard since then, to create synergies within our system to support the whole initiative," said Gianchandani.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Indian women and accounts for 14% of all cancers detected. In urban areas, 1 in 22 women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Gianchandani pointed out that, "In breast cancer, early detection is important and it requires prompt treatment to improve the success rate. However, generally, it takes a long time for patients to get back their mammography and sonography results after their health check-up. Following that, if a lesion is found, it has to be determined if it is benign, which means the patient has to make another appointment, which is again a time-consuming affair."
"In this clinic what we have achieved is that we have created an ecosystem through which an individual can get their mammography, sonography and even biopsy done within two hours of coming to the clinic for her appointment... and if any issue is found during these examinations, the patient has the option of taking the treatment immediately, or at least start thinking about the treatment, which normally would have taken a long time," she added.
How Does the Clinic Work?
An oncology clinician first meets the patient to determine any history of unusual changes in her breasts. After that, the clinician decides what examination the patient should undergo. They are mostly sent for sonography and mammography. After the tests, the results are collected by the clinician from the sonologist. If something suspicious is found in the mammography, the consultant talks to the patient and shows her what is wrong, and if the patient gives consent, then a biopsy is done.
"Within two hours we give a provisional biopsy result which determines whether further investigation is required, or if it is a benign lesion," said Gianchandani.
"We not only expedite the process but also make the dedicated technology available for our patients. We have allocated high-end sonography, and mammography machines, just for this clinic. We have also added better technology in our sister pathology so that we at least get the provisional report of the biopsy within two hours," she added.
Offering Treatment with Empathy
"It is a one-stop clinic for a patient who wants a quick diagnosis. However, as a hospital, we also offer treatment after the diagnosis has been made. Generally, patients have to go from pillar to post for every little check-up. But this clinic provides everything," said Dr Vijay Haribhakti, Director, Surgical Oncology at Sir HNRFH.
"We are all approaching it as a team. We have many different kinds of medical experts on this team, from surgeons to medical oncologists, to radiation oncologists." He added. The clinic will offer Tailor-made treatment solutions from Radiation therapy, Targeted Therapy, Hormone Therapy to Surgery and Chemotherapy. Those with other breast issues can also avail it for diagnosis and treatment.
"We want our patients to have the confidence that they will get the quickest and best diagnosis and treatment plan, all at par with international standards. We also want to provide an end-to-end treatment, with empathy and efficiency," said Dr Haribhakti.
The clinic is currently open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday but Gianchandani said that they are willing to increase slots in future.