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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 98

Dr. V. Shanta: A crusader who revolutionised global cancer care

Department of Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission02-Feb-2021
Date of Decision06-Feb-2021
Date of Acceptance06-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication25-Apr-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Arvind Krishnamurthy
Department of Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), 38, Sardar Patel Road, Adyar, Chennai - 600 036, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JME.JME_17_21

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How to cite this article:
Krishnamurthy A. Dr. V. Shanta: A crusader who revolutionised global cancer care. J Med Evid 2021;2:98

How to cite this URL:
Krishnamurthy A. Dr. V. Shanta: A crusader who revolutionised global cancer care. J Med Evid [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 12];2:98. Available from: http://www.journaljme.org/text.asp?2021/2/1/98/314618

With the passing away of Dr. V Shanta on 19 January 2021, the world lost a crusader who had revolutionised cancer care for over six decades. Dr. Viswanathan Shanta was born in Chennai, India, on 11 March 1927, to a distinguished family that included two Nobel Laureates: C. V. Raman and S. Chandrasekar. She completed her M.B.B.S from the Madras Medical College in 1949, D.G.O. in 1952 and M.D. (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) in 1955. The Cancer Institute (Women's Indian Association [WIA]) was established in the year 1954 by the WIA Cancer Relief Fund under the leadership of two doyens in the medical field, Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy and Dr. S. Krishnamurthi. Dr. Shanta was associated with the Cancer Institute (WIA) since 1955 and played a key role along with her mentor Dr. S. Krishnamurthi in developing the Institute brick by brick, from a cottage hospital of 12 beds to a world-class comprehensive cancer centre as it stands today. She held several positions, including that of the Director of the Institute, between 1980 and 1997. She served as a member of several national and international committees on health and medicine, including the World Health Organization's Advisory Committee on Health. Dr. Shanta was best known for her efforts towards making quality and affordable treatment accessible to all cancer patients. She dedicated her lifetime to the caring of the cancer patients, in fact she lived in a single room within the premises of the Cancer Institute (WIA), so that she could be available to her patients round the clock. She was also actively involved in the study of cancer, right from its prevention, treatment and palliation and was instrumental in developing the various specialties of oncology. She often stressed on the need to pursue research and often recalled Dr. Krishnamurthi's passion for research and one of his many mantras: 'Today's Research, Tomorrow's Treatment'. Dr. Shanta devoted a significant part of her time to spreading awareness about cancer and especially debunking the myths and stigma associated with the disease. Her work won her several prestigious awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award for public service (2005), Padma Shri (1986), Padma Bhushan (2006) and Padma Vibhushan (2016), the second-highest civilian award given by the Government of India. The fact that tributes have been continuously flowing in from several people across various walks of life including patients, colleagues and even political leaders cutting across party lines, is a reflection of Dr. Shanta's immense popularity for the many lives that she managed to touch during a remarkable career spanning over six decades. All the varied voices are unanimous in the fact that Dr. Shanta occupied a unique space and with her passing away has left a huge void in the field of oncology.


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