In the winter of 2015, Sikander Singh, a simple farmer from Sekhopura in Ludhiana district, received devastating news. Dayanand Medical College & Hospital had informed him that he had hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer. With tears streaming down his face, clutching his CT scan report, Sikander met with an interventional oncologist at RGCIRC, filled with fear and confusion. Accompanied by a group from his village, he was seeking a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness.

Dr. Arvind Chaturvedi, the Chair of the Department of Radiology and Interventional Oncology, analyzed Sikander’s condition and recommended a treatment called Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA). Although surgery wasn’t feasible, RFA offered a chance at fighting the cancer. Dr. Chaturvedi assured Sikander that they would do their best, emphasizing that many patients had achieved positive outcomes with this treatment.
RFA, a minimally invasive and non-surgical liver-targeted therapy, involved using thermal energy to destroy the tumor. Dr. Chaturvedi, a pioneer in this groundbreaking technology, inserted an electrode into the cancerous area and applied earthing pads on Sikander’s thighs. Electrical currents flowed, generating heat that reached temperatures over 60 degrees Celsius, effectively killing the cancer cells. The procedure was like cooking the tumor to its demise, while sparing the surrounding healthy organs from harm.
The profound impact of RFA extended beyond the physical aspects. It offered Sikander an escape from prolonged hospitalization, excessive blood loss, and financial burden commonly associated with traditional surgeries. On the same day, he returned to his village, leaving the disease behind. However, amidst the relief, he unintentionally neglected his follow-up appointments, underestimating the importance of continued care.
Over a year later, Sikander Singh returned to RGCIRC with another lesion on a different site of his liver. The cancer had manifested in multiple locations, making surgical intervention risky. Consulting with a liver surgeon, Dr. Chaturvedi decided on a combination therapy: Transarterial Chemo-Embolization (TACE) followed by RFA. TACE delivered chemotherapy directly to the tumor via a catheter, blocking its blood supply and effectively killing the cancer cells. The subsequent RFA treatment aimed to eradicate the remaining cancerous cells.
Sikander Singh embraced the treatment, appreciating the meticulous and compassionate care provided by Dr. Chaturvedi and his team. With each procedure, Sikander fought valiantly against the disease, never losing hope or succumbing to despair. His commitment to following the recommended course of action and his unwavering faith in his medical team became his sources of strength and resilience.
Today, standing in his farm, sowing paddy, Sikander Singh stands declared disease-free, leading a normal life once again. His visits to RGCIRC have become more infrequent, but he remains cautious and dedicated to his follow-up appointments. The journey has taught him the value of vigilance and the significance of cherishing each day.
The significance of RGCIRC extends far beyond medical expertise. It is a place where lives are transformed, where patients are treated with empathy and compassion. For Sikander Singh, RGCIRC became a second family, providing not only exceptional medical care but also emotional support and guidance. Dr. Chaturvedi’s dedication and love for his patients left an indelible mark on Sikander’s heart, reminding him that he was never alone in his battle against cancer.

Sikander’s story embodies the power of resilience, the importance of early detection, and the impact of compassionate care. It serves as an inspiration to all those facing adversity, demonstrating that hope can flourish even in the darkest of times. As Sikander continues his journey, he carries with him the memories of RGCIRC, a place that symbolizes life, healing, and the triumph of the human spirit.
In the words of Arthur Schopenhauer, “Mostly it is loss that teaches us the worth of things.” For Sikander Singh, his encounter with cancer taught him the true value of life, the significance of love and support, and the importance of never giving up. His story resonates with anyone who has faced a daunting diagnosis, reminding them that within the most challenging moments, there lies the potential for incredible strength, hope, and a new beginning.

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Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre is today counted amongst Asia’s premier exclusive cancer centres that offer unique advantage of cutting edge technology, put to use by renowned super specialists. This potent combination of man and machine ensures world-class cancer care to not only patients from India, but also from the neighboring SAARC countries and others.

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