The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that more than 220 million people worldwide are afflicted with diabetes with 50.8 million of these from India alone – the largest diabetic population in the world. With one diabetes related death occurring every 10 seconds this silent epidemic has now become a matter of serious concern for health professionals.
Diabetology is a branch of internal medicine that can be pursued after a student completes his MBBS. The two year residency program is affiliated to medical colleges, and students can pursue it after appearing for an open entrance exam. The course covers all areas that aspiring diabetologists must be familiar with, as diabetes can lead to other complications namely retinopathy, nepthropathy, diabetic foot, cardio and neuro.
Diabetologists also have a role to play in the counseling OPD, wherein they help patients to come to terms with chronic illness, and make the required lifestyle adjustments. Diabetologists will provide dietary advice personal/skin care advice and even counsel patient to self monitor their condition and adjust dosage accordingly.
Cancer accounts for 13 per cent of all deaths worldwide and there are 1.5 to two million cases of cancer in India at any given time. Oncologists deal with tumors or cancer, and must deal with the whole spectrum of services for cancer patients, i.e diagnosis treatment – surgical oncology, radiation oncology, chemotherapy, and finally palliative care (terminal cases and post treatment recovery). Oncology consists of treatment of patients in four different ways: surgical oncology involves a simple or complex procedure for removal of tumor, radiation oncology involves using radiation from the outside (Teletherapy) or from close to the tumor (brachytherapy), medical oncology or chemotherapy employs chemicals that are injected or ingested as well as biological therapy to intercept the pathway of tumor development.
Other areas include onco-pathology (diagnosis using various markers) anaesthesia, biochemistry radio diagnosis, and preventive oncology. For surgical oncology a student should have completed his MS in General Surgery or in a specific surgical field, and then go on to pursue the MCh in surgical Oncology, focusing on cancer treatment in the area of his MS. For radiation oncology students will have to pursue MD in Radiotherapy while medical oncologists must have an MD in Medicine, and then a DM in medical Oncology.
The average urban Indian’s life has changed. We spend hours chained to our work desks focusing on a computer screen, or have excessive exposure to dust and pollution while traveling. But these aren’t the primary reasons for the tremendous growth opportunities for ophthalmologists. The biggest growth in the ophthalmology field is possibly in cosmetic areas – laser correction surgery has become extremely commercialized and is a very lucrative business. We are also witnessing an increasing number of diabetic patients consulting ophthalmpologists concerned about retinopathy. And obviously cataracts are the bread and butter for most ophthalmologists every individual needs a cataract operation at least once in life.
To pursue ophthalmology, students must complete an MS in Ophthalmology after their MBBS and develop their expertise in a sub-specialty by working with a surgeon after their MS. Sub-specialties under ophthalmology can include glaucoma, cornea (laser surgery), oculoplasty (eyelids and cosmetic botox) as well as vitreo retinal surgery among others.
Bone of Contention:
With increasing instances of osteoporosis and arthritis, besides other common accident related bone and joint treatments, orthopaedics is a specialty that will continue to grow. As the number of vehicles on city roads multiplies, the number of accidents has also grown.
Though orthopaedics is a surgical branch, orthopaedic surgeons can use both surgical and non-surgical methods to treat musculoskeletal trauma, degenerative bone diseases, tumors, sports injuries. Orthopaedics can concern themselves with with a certain part of the body specializing in spine surgery, hand surgery, joint replacement surgery, oncology orthopaedics, pediatric orthopedics and even sports injuries.
Students need to pursue an MS in Orthopaedics after their MBBS to pursue a career in the field.
1) All India Institute of Medical Science , New Delhi
2) Jawaharlal Nehru Institute Medical education and research, Puducherry
3) Christian Medical College , Vellore
4) Manipal University, Manipal