Madras Cancer Care Foundation (MCCF) is an Oncology group practice which was started in 2007 by a group of Oncologists. The group functions from 3 hospitals in Chennai, namely, Apollo Specialty Hospital, Kumaran Hospital and The Voluntary Health Services Hospital (VHS) where it provides in-patient and out-patient services.To reach the weaker economic section of the society, the group set up an NGO, Cancer Research and Relief Trust (CRRT) in the year 2008. CRRT is also committed to Cancer research, creating Cancer and Palliative Care awareness, Cancer Screening programs and cancer rehabilitation workshops. In 2011 the group started another NGO, Cancare Foundation, with the primary mission of providing palliative care to cancer patients in the comfort of their homes pro bono. In 2015, the NGO set up a hospice centre to house cancer patients who need palliative or respite care and this is also provided free of cost. Presently this 5-bedded hospice functions out of VHS hospital. Over the years the group has grown and evolved and now it is a 30 member strong multidisciplinary team consisting of Medical, Surgical and Radiation Oncologists, Palliative Care Specialist, psycho oncologist, social workers, dedicated chemotherapy sisters, trained palliative care nurses, pharmacists and tumor registry and tumor bank staff. (We are part of the National Cancer Registry program)
The department is composed of multi disciplinary specialists and nursing staff to enable Comprehensive Cancer Care right from diagnosis to palliation. Medical Oncology is headed by Dr. S.G. Ramanan and ably supported by Dr. Jegan Niwas whose special interest is Multiple myeloma, lung, colon and ovarian cancers. Surgical Oncology is divided into subspecialties; Gynae-Oncology is lead by Dr S Ayyappan , Thoracic and GI surgical oncology is led by Dr Vikash Mahajan, assisted by Dr Phani Kumar and Head and Neck Oncology is headed by Dr C S Mani and supported by Dr Lakshmi Narayana and Dr Shruti. Dr Shafika, our Palliative Care physician is the clinical lead for our Palliative Medicine Department and the home-based palliative care services. Dr Janarthina Kani heads our Radiation Oncology department and is the administration head for palliative Care services. He is well supported by Dr Bhargavi who is well versed in high end radiotherapy techniques and is the lead for our hereditary cancer clinic. The Screening program in-charge is Dr Janarthina Kani and is supported by Dr Kanimozhi. Psycho-Oncology Services is provided by our Psycho Oncologist Mr Dayanand.
The areas of specialisation include Medical Oncology, Organ-specific Surgical Oncology, Head and Neck Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Palliative Oncology, Hereditary cancer clinic and Psycho-Oncology. Our Palliative Oncology Branch provides palliative care services as in-patient, Out-patient, Pain clinics, Home based Palliative care services as well as exclusive Hospice Care at VHS. Psycho-Oncology sector is committed to providing bereavement support and hold monthly bereavement support group meetings. Our palliative medicine department's special interests are in advance care planning and interventional palliative interventions. Our group practice also focuses on the wellbeing of the carers of cancer survivors. CRRT regularly holds rehabilitation workshops for laryngectomy patient as part of the esophageal speech rehabilitation program. In these workshops, we parallelly run support groups for the caregivers that accompany our laryngectomy patients.
Palliative and supportive care
The palliative care team is involved in both symptom control and psychological wellbeing of the patients even at the time of diagnosis when the patient is undergoing curative intent treatment. Pain and symptom control pre surgery is managed by the supportive care team. A seamless transition of care is achieved due to early introduction of the palliative care team to the cancer patients. The palliative care unit functions as a hospice unit and provides home palliative care services for our terminally ill patients who are not ambulant. Out-of-hours cancer and supportive care is managed through a 24-hour helpline that is exclusively for patients under the care of MCCF. The helpline is held by nurse specialists who are trained to triage the calls and if the caller is facing an emergency that needs immediate medical attention, the helpline holder will direct the patient to the most appropriate and proximate hospital emergency room. The nurse specialists are trained to manage both oncological as well as palliative emergencies. Referrals to palliative care services are purely based on the oncologist's perception of the patient's need for palliative care support.