Dr V Shanta, Doyen of Cancer Care, Passes Away in Chennai at 94

Chairwoman of Cancer Institute, senior oncologist, and doyen of cancer care in India Dr. V Shanta, 94, died at a private hospital in Chennai on Tuesday.

Following a complaint of discomfort, Dr. Shanta was rushed to Apollo hospital where an attempt to remove a block in her blood vessel failed and she took her last breath at around 3:55 am. Her body was placed at the Cancer Institute’s old building where she had joined as a resident medical officer 65 years ago.

“We placed her body in the same hall where we had placed the body of our former chief Dr. S Krishnamurthi. He inspired her in many ways,” the institute’s senior epidemiologist Dr. R Swaminathan told Times of India.

Born on March 11, 1927, Dr Shanta belonged to the family of Nobel laureates CV Raman and S Chandrashekhar. The veteran oncologist devoted herself to cancer care and the field of oncology and made quality and affordable cancer treatment accessible to patients in India. She dedicated herself to cancer patients’ treatment, care, and spreading awareness.

Recipient of several awards including Padma Vibhushan and Ramon Magsaysay, Dr Shanta remained an inspiration for several healthcare providers and doctors. An alumnus of Madras Medical College, she joined the Cancer institute founded by Muthulakshmi Reddy- one of the first women graduates in India.

Along with Dr Krishnamurthy, Dr Shanta played a pivotal role in the development of the Adyar Cancer Institute from a small hospital with 12 beds to a massive cancer center of repute. “It is an end of an era,” said Dr. Arvind Krishnamurthy, as he stood near her body along with her friends and family.

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