There has been a stigma attached to cancer for centuries, saying it means death. Even with technological and medical advances over the years, public attitudes towards cancer and cancer patients remain fatalistic. However, thanks to a few oncologists who have dedicated their lives to cancer care treatment and awareness. Among them is Professor Krupasindhu Panda, known as the Oncoveer-Karmaveer of Odisha in Indian medical history. An excellent teacher, surgeon, cancer activist, and all-around oncologist, Dr Panda has been instrumental in revolutionizing cancer treatment in the state.
Despite coming from a humble family, Dr Panda was a brilliant student. A poor family background and financial hardship did not stop him from completing matriculation with flying colours in his village. He graduated with a gold medal in General Surgery from SCB Medical College to fulfill his dream of serving needy people. He then enrolled at Ravenshaw University in 1962. In 1969, he won the All India Medical Forum in Trivandrum. He joined the faculty as a medical teacher of anatomy. In 1976, he completed his Masters of Surgery at SCB Medical College and joined as a teacher in Cancer Surgery.
Meanwhile, he developed a keen interest in cancer surgery. He underwent special training at Tata Memorial Hospital- Mumbai, AIIMS- New Delhi, and the MSKCC- New York. In New York, he completed training in head and neck cancer. Along with guiding postgraduate students, he also developed an interest in patient care and special research. He has published 52 papers-three papers in Singapore at the Asia-Pacific Cancer Conference, 12 papers at the UICC Conference at New Delhi, two papers in Oslo and one in Washington DC on oral and breast cancer. Additionally, he worked on an ICMR project and studied 42,000 chewers to study the effects of tobacco chewing.
During the past three decades, Dr Panda has organized numerous medical camps, school health programmes, and awareness seminars at the grassroots. In addition to promoting cancer detection and a healthy lifestyle, he distributed booklets, leaflets, CDs, and other materials to the public, primarily through the Odisha Cancer Foundation Trust. He is the founder secretary since 1999. Also, Dr Panda is the author of several books on cancer, including Cancer- The Chill and the Cheer, Handbook of Oncology, Know Cancer, Karkata Roga a Pattachitra, etc. They have been widely praised for their comprehensive coverage of cancer. Furthermore, he led numerous state and national organizations that sought to spread cancer awareness, support cancer patients, and organize health camps.
In 2003, after taking voluntary retirement, he founded HCG Panda Curie Cancer Hospital, the first private cancer hospital in the state of Odisha, in Telengapentha, Cuttack. With world-class treatment for cancer patients, the hospital is now one of India’s best cancer hospitals. As a team, the Surgeons work under the guidance of Dr Panda to provide patients with the best cancer treatment in India. HCG Panda Curie Cancer Hospital boasts all the modern facilities of radiotherapy-cobalt, brachytherapy, lenac, no other cancer hospital in the state enjoys such cult status. It also offers holistic and integrated treatment for cancers of the Breast, Head and Neck, Lung, Gastrointestinal tract, and others. Additionally, the hospital provided services to cancer patients selflessly during the pandemic lockdown period, which took place at a time when medical infrastructure around the world was severely damaged. Aiming to spread the message of ‘Cancer is Curable’ by providing psychological support to cancer patients, Dr Panda and his team celebrate ‘World Cancer Survivor Day’ every year.
The celebrated oncologist, Dr Panda, who is loved and admired globally, received the ‘Lifetime Health Achievement Award’ for his outstanding achievements and distinguished service to the nation. Dr Panda wishes to completely immerse himself in cancer awareness and bring smiles to cancer patients’ faces until the end of his life. He wants to establish a cancer museum for school children for better awareness.
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