With a mission to provide the most comprehensive and advanced cancer care in India, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre (APCC), the first and only proton therapy centre in South Asia and the Middle East, has successfully treated a 21-year-old woman from Kolkata with proton beam therapy (PBT) for a different type of brain tumour.
Medhasree Sanyal, has complaints of experiencing seizures which had been managed conservatively with EEG and medicines since 2019. In June 2021, the girl started to experience double vision and went for an MRI brain scan in Kolkata, which revealed a solid cystic lesion in her right temporal lobe measuring 7×4.8×3.7cm. She underwent a right temporal craniotomy and excision of the lesion at a hospital in Kolkata. Later, the girl underwent an MRI which showed another lesion measuring 0.7cm in her right temporal lobe. She underwent re-exploration and near-total excision of the tumor under neuronavigation by Dr. Roopesh Kumar and team at Apollo Proton Cancer Centre. Post-surgery, her medical review showed that there was a very scant residue of the tumor with classical pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma morphology, but rather most of the tumor component was that of an infiltrating glioma for which she went through a session of Intensity-Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT). Post therapy, an MRI showed that there was no residual disease. The patient recovered well and continues to live a normal life, thanks to the appropriate medical intervention at APCC.
In India, the estimated number of cancer incident cases in 2022 is 14,61,427. According to the latest available data from the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP), the estimated incidence of cancer in West Bengal in 2020 was 1,16,900 cases. The estimated mortality from cancer in the state in the same year was 68,600 cases. In Kolkata, the NCRP estimated the incidence of cancer in the city to be 33,800 cases in 2020. The most prevalent types of cancer in West Bengal are breast cancer, oral cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
According to the International Association of Cancer Registries (IARC), over 24,000 people die each year due to brain tumours. So far, the APCC has treated over 300 cases of brain tumours, 12 of which are from Kolkata.
Dr Sapna Nangia, Senior Consultant, Radiation Oncology, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre, Chennai said, “Proton beam therapy is a highly advanced form of radiation therapy that offers excellent precision and effectiveness in cancer treatment. In West Bengal, cancer is a major health concern with approximately 42,000 new cases of breast, cervical, lung, and oral cancer diagnosed each year. The Apollo Proton Cancer Center is equipped with cutting-edge pencil beam scanning technology, enabling precise delivery of proton beams to the tumor while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues. This makes proton therapy particularly beneficial for tumors located in sensitive areas, such as the brain, skull base, head neck region or lungs, where traditional radiation therapy can cause significant harm to healthy tissue. Studies have shown that proton therapy provides excellent outcomes in curing or controlling various types of cancer while minimizing immediate and long-term side effects of treatment. Ultimately, proton therapy not only improves patients’ chances of survival but also enhances their quality of life after treatment.”
Medhasree Sanyal said, “I cannot thank the staff at Apollo Proton Cancer Centre enough for the much-required treatment I received during my cancer journey. The care and attention I received from my medical team and support staff were exceptional. They made me feel like I was their top priority, and the proton beam therapy yielded favourable results. I am grateful for their expertise, compassion, and dedication, which helped me to overcome my illness and return to a healthy life.”
“My treatment for cervico-medullary pilocytic astrocytoma at APCC was a holistic experience. The doctors and clinical staff were very considerate of my choices and had a detailed treatment plan in place. Intensity-modulated proton therapy was a game changer in my battle with a brain tumour. The environment was such that I didn’t feel like a hospital,” says Navadiya Jemin Mansukhbhai, who was treated at APCC.
The major advantage of proton therapy treatment is that protons slowly deposit their energy as they travel towards the cancerous tumour and deposit most of the radiation dose directly in the tumour without damaging the body further thus maintaining healthy tissues and organs without any complications. Proton therapy has been shown to have excellent local control of various cancers located in some of the most difficult areas such as skull-base regions of the body which are otherwise difficult to treat. The latest breakthroughs in this technology including pencil beam scanning, highly precise image guidance and tremendous refinements in the machine set up have led to the adoption of this technology throughout the world in hospital settings in the last few years.
Proton therapy is being encouragingly adopted for the treatment of various cancers such as brain and spine tumours, skull base tumours, oral cancers, gastro-intestinal cancers, bone and soft tissue tumours, breast cancers, thoracic cancers (lung cancer), genitourinary cancers (prostate cancer) and predominantly in paediatric cancers except for leukaemia.