Balco Medical Centre - Online




Strong Women, Stronger World: Healthcare for All

March 11,23

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Embracing equity which stands for embracing diversity, inclusion and being fair. It stands for success for all. Equality is the goal, and equity is the means to get there.

While we continue to pursue one dream after another, let us take a moment to reflect on the things we have done at Balco Medical Centre (BMC) that have made a difference in the lives of many.

I am a cancer specialist and medical director of Balco Medical Centre which is an integral part of the Vedanta group. We see patients from a diverse socio economic and cultural backgrounds and we try and make sure that cancer care is individualized for each patient so that the end result is the same for all, which is increasing the cure rate and improving every patient’s quality of life. This is best for an individual patient and best for our country, as we improve our benchmarks and outcomes for a productive society. I am really proud to be part of this institution, which gives me an opportunity to provide equitable access to care to all those we have the privilege of treating.

Despite the challenges involved mainly relating to out of pocket expenses and financial toxicity, we are providing the best evidence based treatment to all patients. The Anil Agarwal Foundation (AAF) has played a significant role in addressing gaps in healthcare provision and promoting equitable access to healthcare for all.

We entered into a memorandum of understanding with Tata Medical Centre (TMC), Mumbai for exchange of knowledge, and enhancement of skills, capabilities and core practices. With this MoU, both hospitals are collaborating for mutual learning, staff training, educational sessions, and institutional fellowships, cross-referrals of patients and joint research, which will shape the future of cancer care in India. Being associated with TMC- Mumbai also helps us set up local and regional benchmarks for cancer care along with peer-review of our institution.  Together we strengthen our resolve against cancer. After practicing for more than two decades in UK, I am all for the promotion of Heal in India – a medical tourism initiative of our country. This seeks to reduce the burden on patients and families who may be facing financial, logistical, and emotional challenges associated with traveling abroad for medical treatment. This will support the growth and development of the Indian healthcare system by promoting investment, innovation, and collaboration among healthcare providers, policymakers, and other stakeholders. At BMC, we are also improving healthcare access and outcomes for all Indians by promoting high-quality medical treatment within the country and reducing the need for patients to seek treatment abroad or outside of the home states – bringing cancer care closer to home!

We are actively engaged with NandGhar projects under the AAF that serve both rural and urban populations throughout Chhattisgarh. Through these initiatives, we are committed to providing health check-ups, cancer screening, and raising cancer awareness, while also helping to tackle non-communicable diseases like sickle cell anaemia, diabetes, hypertension, and malnutrition through our involvement in NandGhar projects under the AAF that serve both rural and urban populations throughout Chhattisgarh. Additionally, our cancer awareness sessions with Mitayan and anganwadi workers in the state focus on educating them about tobacco cessation, menstrual hygiene, nutrition, and vaccination for cervical cancer.

We are working on a tobacco-free village initiative, which is a public health program that was developed by researchers at the Harvard Medical School in collaboration with local communities in India. Our aim is to reduce tobacco use and promote healthy lifestyles in rural areas of the country by creating smoke-free and tobacco-free environments. Tobacco is the main cause of the commonest cancer of head & neck we see in India especially Chhattisgarh.

We have an excellent bone marrow transplant program and are actively contributing to the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry. The database helps us to improve the safety and effectiveness of transplantation procedures and to advance our understanding of this important area of medicine. BMC is part of the Hemovigilance Program of India (hvPI) to ensure the safety and quality of blood transfusions and to contribute to ongoing efforts to improve the healthcare system in the country. By being part of HvPI, healthcare professionals can help to identify and address gaps in blood transfusion practices, improve patient outcomes, and promote better health for all. To help capacity building for the nation, we are in the process of expanding the BMT unit and are also actively educating local professional in good practices of transfusion medicine , flowcytometry etc.

We work in close collaboration with TMC- Navya- the second opinion portal which gives our patients access to the best advice across the country for site specific cancers. This provides personalized cancer care services through its clinical decision support system and helps us deliver the best for our patients. On this path of driving healthcare excellence for our country, we will be starting the education program for cancer specialists in our hospital which will provide an opportunity to enhance the quality of medical education and training, as well as the overall standard of healthcare provided in the country.

BMC is fast emerging as a national leader in India’s cancer program as we commission our second latest state of the art radiotherapy machine this year by May 2023. This will allow for precise targeting of the cancers while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue. A combination of treatments are included in the plan, which meets high standards of patient care accredited by NABL and NABH. The precision oncology program with molecular tumour boards also gives our patients access to the latest technology every step of the way. Participating in the national cancer grid virtual tumour boards with TMC, Mumbai every week is another step in the direction of bringing the best expertise to our patients locally.


We embrace equity in all we do every single day to make India a strong nation!

Dr. Bhawna Sirohi


Destigmatising Cancer and closing the care gap at Balco medical Centre

February 04,23

World Cancer Day is marked as a global event that takes place annually on February 4. The day is commemorated to raise awareness about cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. This year the theme for this day is "Close the Care Gap," which is what Balco Medical Centre (BMC) has been striving for since the day of its inception under the aegis of Anil Agarwal Foundation and Vedanta Medical Research Foundation. The focus is on the need to address disparities in cancer care and make sure that everyone has access to quality cancer care irrespective of their economic status or area where they live in. Currently, it has active operations across Central India while it aims to spread its wings, PAN India.

Based on recent data, 1 out of every 5 individuals happen to develop cancer in a lifetime and this global burden mainly seems to be borne by low and middle income group countries like India. Nevertheless, such common cancers as head &neck, breast & cervix are not only preventable in our country but also easily treatable if detected early by methods which are accessible to most of the population and are cost-effective.

BMC, since the time of its establishment has taken all comprehensive steps to  close the care gap for its patients so they not only receive quality but equitable care. The centre raises cancer awareness through an unlearn- learn process of the ABCs of cancer prevention that expands as

A: avoid tobacco and alcohol

B: breastfeed, be breast aware, and get vaccinated against hepatitis B and HPV

C: calm

D: diet which is balanced – local and fresh

E: exercise 30-45 minutes daily

F: family history that you need to know everything about

S: screening for cervix (HPV/Pap smear), breast (mammogram, clinical exam), head and neck (clinical exam), colon (stool occult blood) and cancer alert signs for early diagnosis.

It further aims at promoting preventions through tobacco cessation clinics, vaccination clinics with an objective to work with all local schools, create awareness and reduce the risk of preventable diseases along with an easy access and availability of indigenous HPV vaccine.

BMC organises free screening camps to enhance its access by working with Nand ghars in driving training and education of anganwadi workers, ASHA, Mitayan at rural level including villages and semi-urban areas. Patients diagnosed are treated at BMC irrespective of their financial status. The mammography van which is going to be launched this year that will further help in bridging the gap by providing access to cancer screening at the doorstep in villages.

To contribute to the national efforts, patients under the PM-JAY, Ayushman Bharat and all government schemes are treated at BMC despite the challenges faced. Patients not covered under any scheme are treated under the BMC charitable fund. BMC provides every aspect of cancer treatment including bone marrow transplants and radionuclide therapy which is unique in central India. This closes the care gap for patients as they do not have to travel to tertiary cancer centres like TMH, Mumbai. Though the centre has made sure to continue to better its concept of learning from each other and hence under a MoU signed with Tata Memorial centre, it conducts virtual NCG tumour boards to drive excellence in cancer care and give the centre a national benchmark to strive for. BMC also adheres to the national cancer guidelines and is part of the Indian council of Medical Research and National cancer grid (NCG) which supports the centre in delivering unified cancer care nationally and helps take the lead.  

Patient advocacy is at the heart of culture of BMC for which patient support groups are developed which not only help in empowering patients but also drive patient education, strength, and better compliance rates to cancer treatments. These are run regularly at BMC. This has been a strong and a wise initiative to close the care gap actively as this would save patients from undergoing unnecessary tests or treatment and improve outcomes.

World Cancer Day serves as a powerful reminder of the collective efforts required to address the global cancer crises. Each one of us has the power to make a difference and to help create a world where cancer is no longer a threat to life. Let us all take action and pledge to do our part in the doing the best for our patients and destigmatising cancer. This will close the care gap.

Dr. Bhawna Sirohi,

Medical Director, Balco Medical Centre