Dr. Rahul Misra
Radiation Oncology (HCG Cancer Center)
Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey?
My dad had a transferrable job so my school and city kept changing every 3 years. I passed my secondary and senior secondary examinations from Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata. We were the first batch of the school. (2004)
Through CBSE PMT I was allotted MBBS seat at Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College, Salem. I completed MBBS in 2010(2004-2010)
After MBBS I cleared step 1 and step 2 CK of USMLE and was planning to go to US. But I was diagnosed with Tuberculosis of the spine and started developing paraparesis. I had to undergo a major surgery and was bed ridden for many months. Hence I had to shelve my USMLE Plans and started preparing for Indian PG exams
I got 335 rank in AIIMS (November), 1433 (AIPGMEE), 223 in AIIMS (June). I purposely wanted a terminal branch with scope for research with not much exposure to infectious disease (due to my history of TB)
So I took up MD RADIOTHERAPY AT GCRI (GUJARAT CANCER RESEARCH INSTITUTE, AHMEDABAD), by choice in 2012
During MD I got 2nd prize for best poster at AROI MP-GUJARAT chapter and 3rd prize for best oral presentation at AROICON 14 at Impahal.
After completing MD in radiation oncology in 2015 I joined Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata
In 2016 I was appointed as consultant radiation oncologist at HCG, Vadodara. Later I was promoted to the post of director, radiation oncology, HCG Vadodara and I am presently working there for the past 4 years.
Q2. What did attract you towards MBBS/ Medical Domain?
I was interested in biology and liked the subject .Also there was no doctor in my immediate family. I admired doctors for the respect they received in the society
Q3. What kind of hurdles did you face in your journey?
There was no coaching center available for CBSE PMT in my city when I was preparing for entrance; hence I had to rely upon knowledge and not tricks and experience. After completing MBBS I developed paraparesis due to TB spine. This was the most difficult phase of my life, my dream of USMLE was shattered, and I was not prepared that well for Indian entrance exams. It was then that I learnt that knowledge does not have boundaries. I used USMLE material to prepare for Indian entrance exams and was able to debunk the myth that you need to read specific books for Indian entrance exams. I realized it is important to understand concepts not to mug up facts as it is concepts which will help you in long term. Again in the final year of my MD radiotherapy I developed TB Hip and had to be bed ridden for 2 months, I had to go for exams with crutches but it was the best learning experience of my life. I realized how adversity can be your biggest teacher.
Q4. You are a Director of Radiation Oncology at HCG Cancer Centre. What is the role of Radiation Oncology in Cancer Treatment?
Radiation oncology is a branch of medicine that uses radiation to kill cancer cells and in many cases cure the patient of cancer. Radiotherapy has a role in brain tumors, head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, gynecological cancers, rectal cancer, skin cancer. As a director I supervise the activities of the department. Ours is a team work. Our team comprises doctors (2 other radiation oncologists), medical officer, nurse, attendants, reception staff, radiation technologists and physicists. I and my colleagues (doctors) choose the patient for treatment after appropriate staging and discussion in tumor board. After the CT simulation of patients we outline the organs at risk (normal structures) and the tumor volumes in the CT slices. These contours are then submitted to the medical physicists who plan the treatment in such a way that the tumor volumes receive maximum dose while minimum dose is received by normal structures. These plans are then approved by us (doctors) in accordance with guidelines. After approval these plans are transferred to the treatment machines where the technicians execute the treatment. We monitor the patients during treatment and make sure they complete their treatment with minimum toxicities.
Q5. How do you handle stress in this fast and competitive life?
It is actually tough to handle stress but I have learnt it the hard way. The crux is that you should involve yourself in some creative activity you always wanted to do in your life. I enjoy swimming, music and travelling. This greatly helps me reduce my stress levels.
Q6. Recently we lost “Rishi Kapoor and Irfan Khan” two legends due to Cancer. What is the prevention and advice should cancer patient follow to win the battle?
Cancer is a tough disease to handle both for doctors as well as patients. To prevent it one should follow healthy lifestyle, avoid tobacco, alcohol, get vaccinated (Hepatitis B, HPV), never ignore symptoms and always consult your doctor at the earliest. Once somebody gets cancer I would advise that one should accept the reality and go for standard treatment instead of wasting time in doubting the diagnosis and taking multiple opinions. One should do proper research before choosing your doctor but once you choose it always trust your doctor. Many a times he is more worried to help you sail through so trust him
Q7. Why did you choose Radiation Oncology in MD?
It is a dynamic and ever changing branch and involves lot of research. Also it deals with cancer which is the most dreaded disease in the present day society. So I feel I am serving the society while learning something new.
Q8. What is the meaning of success in your terms?
Success I feel is being able to achieve what you always dreamt of. One must always keep shifting milestones and keep moving forward. Only then will you be successful.
Q9. Coronavirus has killed many persons from all around world. Please give some suggestion about prevention to all of us?
I feel the best way right now is stay home/ stay safe. Wash your hands regularly, wear masks, and protect your elders. Cooperate with corona warriors as they are fighting to keep you safe.