A name synonymous with cancer care, Dr Shanta made treatment for cancer affordable for all the patients.

Cancer Institute Chairperson Dr Shanta
news Death Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 08:41

Chairperson of Cancer Institute and senior oncologist Dr V Shanta, who championed cancer care in the country, passed away in the early hours of Tuesday. She passed away due to breathing complications at the age of 94. Dr Shanta had complained of difficulty in breathing and discomfort and was rushed to Apollo Hospital in Chennai. However, as the doctors were attempting to remove a block in the blood vessel, she passed away at 3.55 am on Tuesday.

A name synonymous with cancer care, Dr Shanta made treatment for cancer affordable for all the patients. To honour her and her contributions to the field of medicine, the Tamil Nadu government will conduct her final rites with police honours. Her body is currently kept at the old building of the Cancer Institute in Adyar for people to pay their respects.

Dr Shanta was born on March 11, 1927, in Chennai to a family of two Nobel laureates in Physics — Sir CV Raman and S Chandrasekhar. Dr Shanta is the grandniece of CV Raman. She completed her school education at National Girls High School and decided to take up medicine as a career. She pursued her degree from Presidency College in Chennai and enrolled for MBBS at Madras Medical College. She completed MBBS in 1940, DGO in 1952 and MD in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1955.

In the early 1940s, Dr Shanta had highlighted in multiple interviews on how women were not allowed to pursue a career and there was only a little knowledge on cancer treatments in the country. 

In 1954, Muthulakshmi Reddy, MD, the first woman medical graduate of India along with Women's India Association founded a first cancer centre — Cancer Institute — in the southern states and Dr Shanta soon joined the institute as the medical officer. After three years, she moved into the Cancer Institute and has been at the Institute since April 13, 1955.

From being a resident doctor to the Chairperson, Dr Shanta was the force behind steering Adyar Cancer Institute to its current glory, championing the cause of cancer care in India and inspiring generations to be dedicated and faithful to their profession.      

READ: Cancer Crusader: Dr Shantha's contribution in the field of Oncology

Remarking her death as the "end of a legend", several doctors, members of the medical fraternity as well as politicians have expressed condolences.

Dr V Mohan, Chairman and Chief Diabetologist at Dr Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre, wrote, “End of a legend. One of India’s greatest doctors, the legendary Dr V Shantha was truly an inspiration to generations of doctors. Her contributions will be remembered forever. May her soul attain Shanthi.”

Recounting Dr V Shanta's contribution, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, "Forever in service of the poor and needy, she lived in a room within the hospital premises, with the singular mission of cancer cure. A saint, no longer among us.”  









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