Doctor Speak: Eliminating the fear of cancer and making room for hope in cancer treatments

by Team Onco

Dr Neelesh Reddy, Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist at Columbia Asia Hospital in Bangalore, speaks to us about the various emotional trysts in dealing with cancer treatments and how to cope up with them. Dr Reddy received a master’s degree in medicine at Manipal Univerity followed by superspecialization in Medical Oncology from the prestigious Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai.


Dr Neelesh Reddy

Dr Reddy is a seasoned expert in the fields of pediatric and adult oncology, giving him holistic expertise in handling cancer patients of all ages. He specializes in the treatment and management of both solid tumors and hematological malignancies, and his opinions are considered sacred when it comes to assessing bone marrow transplant procedures and the management of palliative care. He was kind enough to share a few bytes of wisdom with the Onco newsroom, and we encourage cancer patients, their families and loved ones to read up on Dr Reddy’s insights.

Explore a consultation with Dr Reddy on! Start Here.

1. Please tell us about your professional achievements, qualifications, areas of interest and expertise.

I am a Medical Oncologist (MD Medicine, DM Medical Oncology) trained in Oncology and Bone Marrow transplant at the Cancer Institute, Adyar, Chennai. After moving to Bangalore, I joined Columbia Asia Yeshwantpur as Chief of Oncology Services, and setup the department, including their bone marrow transplant unit.

The Daycare center at Columbia Asia is a busy unit, catering close to 2,000 patients per month. We deal with all types of cancers, ranging from pediatrics to adults with areas of special interest being gynecological cancers (breast, ovary, cervical cancer) and Cancers of the GI tract (Gastro-Intestinal Tract).

2. Please tell us something about yourself. Your native place, family interests, hobbies etc. (In an informal manner only if you wish to share the details)

I was born in Gulbarga (North Karnataka), known more for its harsh weather conditions than the fact that it is Asia’s largest producer of toor dal or its rich historic background. I am an eco-friendly person, and so is my family. We have a roof top solar plant generating our own electricity and we use an electric car to commute in Bangalore. Trying to contribute towards environment safety by small steps.

3. What led you to choose Oncology as your medical specialization?

There were two main reasons for me to choose Oncology as my specialization. First, I felt that there was an unmet need in society back then (14 years back) when less than 200 qualified medical oncologists were available in India, and second, I wanted to stay in touch with Internal Medicine (My basic qualification), which I felt will be easier with Oncology.

4. What drives/inspires you daily at work?

As an oncologist, there is nothing which gives more happiness than treating a patient of cancer and see him/her go back to a productive and meaningful life.

However – in conditions where a complete cure is not possible, even if we provide the kind of care which improves the patient’s quality of life and reduces suffering for both patients and their families, it gives an unmatched sense of satisfaction to the entire Oncology team.

5. What do you think is missing in the cancer care landscape in India and the world?

I feel there are two things that we need to strive for – Easy accessibility to quality cancer care and affordable cancer care for the entire world.

6. What are some preventive measures that one can take to avoid cancer?

Follow a healthy lifestyle, avoid tobacco in all forms, limit (preferably avoid) alcohol, and undergo periodic health checkups. These simple steps help a lot for both prevention of cancer as well as in early detection if it occurs.

7. What is that one thing you wish your patients knew before they started their treatment?

It will be easier for patients and families to deal with cancer treatment if they have an open discussion about the different options of treatment, intent of treatment and other similar details before getting started on their treatment.

8. What makes you optimistic about the future of cancer care?

On one side, due to increased awareness, patients are getting diagnosed at early stages, and on the other hand, advancements in diagnostics and treatment options have increased the overall scope of cure and survival. These facts have turned Cancer (generally considered as a terminal illness) similar to chronic illnesses (such as diabetes).

I believe that this evolution will eliminate the ‘fear of cancer’ from our minds, and make room for hope in cancer treatments.

Dr Reddy is a part of the growing network of expert oncologists that powers If you wish to consult Dr Reddy for his advice on your cancer diagnosis, or a second opinion on your current treatment, you can start your consultation today at


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