Meet Dr Dodul Mondal
Dr Dodul Mondal is a specialist in the treatment of breast cancer, gynecologic cancers, soft tissue sarcomas, head and neck cancers, brain tumors, abdominal malignancies (including genitourinary and gynecologic malignancies), and childhood cancers.
Dr Mondal is highly trained and skilled in treating patients with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT), stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), arc therapy (VMAT/ Rapid arc) and brachytherapy. He prefers interstitial brachytherapy (when indicated) to treat breast cancer, gynecologic cancers, soft tissue sarcomas and other malignancies.
Academic & Professional Achievements
Dr Mondal began his career in oncology more than a decade ago. As a medical graduate from N.R.S.Medical College, Kolkata (one of the oldest medical colleges of India), he maintained an excellent academic record throughout his days at university. He was awarded with an honors and a gold medal during his graduation, with an excellent score in his specialization in oncology.
He completed his specialization (in Radiation Oncology) at the Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata (the oldest medial college in Asia). This gave him tremendous exposure to radiation and clinical oncology in their entirety.
His quest for academic and professional excellence drove him further to acquire more skills in oncology, and as a result of these endeavors, he spent time working in various capacities in nearly all of India's esteemed oncology institutions, such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (New Delhi), the Tata Memorial Hospital (Mumbai) and the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (Lucknow).
In the time spent at these institutes, Dr Mondal was actively involved in resident teaching, training and research work, and has published many scientific research papers in various national and international journals of repute. He also got selected for the UICC fellowship (awarded by the Union for International Cancer Control, Switzerland). He has also received many other grants and travel fellowships from different national and international organizations.
A significant breakthrough in Dr Mondal's career came in 2017, when he was selected as an 'International Fellow' by Rutgers University at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (USA) for their prestigious fellowship on “Precision Radiation Oncology”. This allowed him to work with proton beam therapy alongside other high-precision radiation oncology technologies and the most advanced technologies in cancer care.
Today, proton beam therapy is considered to be the most advanced radiation technologies available in the world. This rare (and perhaps the first of its kind) fellowship in the USA broadened Dr Mondal's horizon and outlook towards the overall management of cancer in patients, using the most evolved treatment infrastructure.
Most recently, Dr Dodul Mondal has contributed to a textbook on “Precision Radiation Oncology” (published in the USA), where he has contributed as an author about the role of “brachytherapy” in the management of different cancers.
Note: The following is an interview with Dr Dodul Mondal, who advises patients for advanced cases of cancer, on Onco.com's network.
Tell us something that we don't know about you.
I was born in West Bengal, India. I was totally engrossed in my academic pursuits! As a child born to teachers, academic excellence was always the highest priority for me. All my siblings are also academically gifted. I'm happy to say that nearly everyone in the family I grew up in, made it to a myriad of merit lists and continued on the same trajectory in their later lives.
Other than my patients, professional engagements, academics and research activities, I have other interests too, such as music. It is a driving force for me. I listen to various genres of music, and received formal training in vocal music as a child. I like singing. I attribute all my passion and energy to the philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore, probably the greatest thinker the world has ever known.
How did you become interested in radiation oncology?
I find it (radiation oncology) highly fascinating as a subject. I don't think I've seen any other medical specialty that has seen so much evolution in the last 20 years.
The use of new-age technology, computing power, the incorporation of heavy ions (including protons and carbon ions) and a plethora of new gadgets, have allowed rapid advancements in radiation oncology. The future needs highly efficient and tech-savvy specialists to come forward and take care of this crowning technology and apply it to the benefit of patients.
What gets me interested in radiation oncology the most, is that it is a curative modality for different types of cancer. For many patients, radiation provides a cure without the need of a surgery!
What inspires you at work every day?
I love to work hard, with sincerity. I am meticulous, and I am a perfectionist. I remain perpetually concerned for the well-being of my patients.
I believe that there is always an element of compassion in the medical profession as a whole, and in my specialty. I am involved in the treatment of cancer patients, many of whom are afraid that their time on earth is limited. I always strive to give my best, and in the process, I need to ensure that I am always inspired and always at the top of my game.
These things are always at the back of my head. They keep me motivated.
Can you share some tips to prevent cancer?
There are many ways to stay safe, but there is no single/magic preventive measure that can prevent all cancers.
Cancer can be caused by multiple factors. Most often, the disease is organ-specific, and for some cancers, we don't even know the causes yet! But for general health guidelines, I advocate the following:
- Adapt to a healthy diet and lifestyle
- Don't smoke
- Don't use tobacco in any form
- Don't drink alcohol, or control your alcohol intake
Aside from this, I think that education and awareness translate into timely screening and early detection. For this reason, I would like to stress upon the necessity of HPV vaccinations, Hepatitis vaccinations, timely screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer.
I have a lot of interest in the area of cancer and genetics. Many types of cancer have a genetic predisposition, and people with a known family history of cancer should go for genetic cancer counseling to stay on the safer side.
What is the one thing that you wish your patients knew, before starting their treatment?
This is important for patients to understand.
Cancer is curable, and cancer is incurable.
How 'treatable' cancer is, totally depends on the stage at which the patient gets diagnosed, and on whether or not he/she receives the right treatment planning and advice from the right cancer specialist/specialists at the right time.
What makes you optimistic about the future of cancer care?
I am generally a very optimistic person, even when my immediate surroundings are gloomy. That keeps me optimistic about every aspect of the future.
Other than that, there have been some marvelous biotechnological developments in recent years, and we now have a much better understanding of the cause-vs-effect relationship in cancer, than we had earlier.
Lastly, I am optimistic because there is a lot of positive change in the amount of education and awareness surrounding cancer. People are now seeking treatment at earlier stages, which bodes well for their treatmemt outcomes.