Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awardee, a doyen of cancer care, Dr. V Shanta has passed away at 93. According to a report by The Hindu, the doctor suffered from chest pain early on Tuesday morning in Chennai, after which she was rushed to the hospital. Doctors later said she had a massive heart block, which could not be removed.
The veteran oncologist was renowned for her efforts towards making quality and affordable cancer treatment accessible to patients everywhere. She was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan and the Ramon Magsaysay awards.
Dr V. Shanta was the Chairman and Executive Chairman of the Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai. After graduating in 1955, in April that same year she joined the nestling Cancer Institute, newly established in 1954 by the Womens’ Indian Association Cancer Relief Fund, as its Resident Medical Officer.
She played an important role along with Dr. S. Krishnamurthi in developing the Cancer Institute, starting from just a cottage hospital of 12 beds to becoming a major comprehensive Cancer Centre of national and international stature.
Dr. Shanta also was the first to start pediatric oncology as a speciality in India and helped significantly in progress of the special field. The first pediatric oncology unit in the country was established in the Cancer Institute, in 1960. She was the first pediatric oncologist in India.
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi expressed his condolences on the demise of Dr Shanta and said she will be remembered for her outstanding efforts to ensure top-quality affordable cancer care. He said, in his tweet, “Dr. V Shanta will be remembered for her outstanding efforts to ensure top-quality cancer care. The Cancer Institute at Adyar, Chennai is at the forefront of serving the poor and downtrodden. I recall my visit to the Institute in 2018. Saddened by Dr. V Shanta's demise. Om Shanti,"