After completing her medical degree nearly two decades ago, prominent oncologist Dr Shabnam Bashir decided to return to the Valley to sensitize the public regarding cancers, busting myths related to them and to remove the social stigmas attached with the deadly disease.
She said her aim is to establish a Cancer Foundation to raise funds for cancer screening programmes and effective treatment for cancer sufferers.
Dr. Shabnam, has a vast experience of around 11 years in general surgery, and is senior consultant in breast, colorectal and peritoneal surface malignancies.
She has been running cancer awareness drives and has touched around 15,000 lives through her talks and informational videos.
As per Dr. Shabnam, she has the credit of being the first female oncosurgeon from Kashmir to be trained in advanced robotic surgery, CRS, HIPEC and PIPAC therapies for advanced colorectal and other abdominal and peritoneal malignancies in addition to being trained in laser surgeries in coloproctology.
She did her MBBS from Government Medical College Srinagar way back in 2004, after which she did PG Diploma in Accidents & Emergency Care from Apollo Indraprastha Hospital, New Delhi in 2005.
Currently she is practicing as a senior consultant and surgical oncologist at some valley’s private health institutes since September 2021.
She is the first female organ specific oncosurgeon (and the only till date) in Kashmir trained in Laparoscopy, Robotic and Laser surgeries.
“I was conferred with the honorary adjunct title of Associate Professor by the Board of Governors of Apollo Hospitals Educational & Research Foundation in Oct 2018. I am trained in Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC therapy and I am also Core Founder Member of Rectal Cancer Treatment Outcome Group Ex-Academic Advisor of Women’s Wing of KSC of ASI”, she said.
“I developed and conceptualised and designed Bluethon- the first of its kind colorectal cancer awareness drive in the country,” she said while speaking with Rising Kashmir.
In view of March being celebrated as Colorectal Cancer awareness month, the first event Bluethon 2022 was conducted in the Valley under the aegis of Association of Colon & Rectal Surgeons of India in collaboration with University of Kashmir and Directorate of Tourism at Nigeen Club.
She said among her priorities is running a cancer awareness drive with the motto of ‘Fighting for a Cancer Free World’ for which she has held various awareness talks at various big teaching, training and corporate institutions as well as informational videos and webinars.
“My mission is to educate the public about cancers, treatments that are available, bust myths about cancers, and remove social stigmas associated with cancers, raise awareness about the actual figures, and discuss various high risk factors and high risk populations.”
“I reiterate the fact that 30-50 percent of cancers are preventable, and teach the public about lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk of cancers,” she added.
While discussing details about the cancer management in the valley, Dr. Shabnam highlighted that cancer treatments necessitate a paradigm shift, particularly in the private sector.
According to her the two apex health care facilities, SKIMS Soura and GMC linked SMHS and Shireen Bagh hospitals, are overburdened since they deal with a large number of cancer patients.
According to her, patients go and seek treatment in big corporate hospitals like in Delhi NCR, Punjab, Bangalore, and Mumbai due to extensive waiting lists in the government run hospitals.
“We need to bring all high-end facilities, procedures, and technology (diagnostics and treatments) to our valley in order to change the face of cancer treatment here and make it a medical tourism destination hub, in addition to providing best treatment to people,” she said.