Going to the Annual Congress of SIOP is always a worthwhile experience for me as it allows learning and networking. Also special is the opportunity to engage with the paediatric oncology community from India who I have started to get to know over the years. A welcome recent trend I have noticed is the increased participation of paediatric haem/onc fellows from India as well as paediatric residents with an interest in paed haem/onc. This is likely to be as a result of the several fellowship programmes which are now up and running in India. Again this is a welcome development.
Among others I met Vikas and Mohammed from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Narendra from Manipal Hospital, Pinky from BJ Wadia Hospital, Kajal from Tata Memorial Hospital, Sneha from Chattrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (previously known as KGMC) in Lucknow and Vaishnavi from Sri Ramachandra Institute. They made some excellent oral and poster presentations and I look forward to seeing their work in print.
The presentations from India which stood out for me were
Tushar Vora's excellent oral presentation on the Impact of holistic housing care at St Jude India Childcare Centres on morbidity and mortality during treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Only 1 out of the 60 children (1.6%) who were provided housing at that centre abandoned treatment compared to 21 out of the other 324 children (6.4%) who were treated at Tata Memorial Hospital at the same time but were not provided housing at St Jude.
Data from AIIMS on the NB96 neuroblastoma protocol over a 14 year period which showed a 3 year overall survival of 60.7% (Stage 1 and 2 - 100%, stage 3 - 71.5% and stage 4 - 35.7%). 56.9% of stage 3 patient and 17.6% of stage 4 patients were in clinical remission.
Mohammed Ramzan's poster from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (Treatment abandonment is a major hurdle for improving survival in childhood cancer in the developing world) showed data on 146 parent of children with cancer who had abandoned treatment and 57 (40%) of these children had died. When they were interviewed on the phone, 28 of them had opted for no further treatment for their children (of which 24 died), 27 had opted for alternative treqatment (and 12 had died), and 78 had opted for chemotherapy at another centre (of whom 21 had died).
On a final note, I was still looking for that elusive multi-centre study from India which has yet to materialise. Perhaps London 2012 ........