Dr Sandeep Nayak, Chief of Cancer Surgery at MACS Clinic and Director of the Robotic and Laparoscopic Surgical Oncology Department at Fortis Cancer Institute, Bangalore, is a pioneer in the field of Laparoscopic Surgery for the treatment of Cancer. Regarded as one of the best oncologists in India, Dr Nayak has been focusing on spreading the message that early detection of cancer is vital as “prevention is better than cure.” So, he always stresses that every individual should routinely get screened for cancer as this is the best way to overcome this deadly disease.
If the cancer is caught in the initial stages, there are very high chances of overcoming this disease and leading a cancer-free life. Fear, apathy and delay in early detection increases the chance of metastasis (cancer spreading to other parts of the body). “Cancer can now be detected and treated faster thanks to advancements in infrastructure and technology in the field of healthcare. The treatment of cancer has also changed especially when using the latest techniques in cancer treatment such as laparoscopy and robotic surgery”, says Nayak, who has been striving to share his more than a decades experience with fellow oncologists to help promote latest techniques in the treatment of cancer including prevent patients from having to undergo intensely painful surgery.
The key message that Dr Nayak has been striving to spread is that “the long-term result of cancer treatment depends upon the quality of the surgery. Every patient has an option of tradition open surgery or laparoscopic or robotic surgery. A patient can choose robotic or laparoscopic surgery for many other benefits they provide.” Some of those benefits are listed below when compared with the conventional open surgical treatment for cancer:
- Less pain and discomfort
- Reduced blood loss
- Cosmetically better results make the surgery almost scar-free
- Short hospital stays
- Quicker return to normal lives
- Less wound-related complications
- The best possible surgery cure rate and in many cases better than open surgery.
A strong believer that cancer is NOT the end of life as you can successfully fight it off with proper and prompt treatment from an experienced cancer specialist, Dr Nayak invests considerable time to keep abreast with the latest development in surgical oncology. To this end, Dr. Nayak spares no effort to get trained overseas in advanced surgical procedures using laparoscopy and robotics. He firmly believes that these cutting-edge surgical procedures are the best option for cancer patients. Despite his hectic schedule, he makes time to spread awareness about cancer and how it can be prevented at seminars, medical forums, TV interviews, etc through his NGO Samrohana. He also makes an effort to interact with the general public to share his views, particularly with youngsters, on the need to lead a healthy life, including eating a balanced diet and undertaking physical activities. Not to forget abstaining from tobacco and alcohol consumption.
His message for cancer survivors is that “there are chances of recurrence….They have to be extra careful and take the necessary steps to maintain health. Similarly, positive thinking and emotions play an equally important role in healthy living.”
Cancer survivors should follow their doctor’s post cancer protocol fully, especially undergoing medical checkups at regular intervals. A strong advocate of healthy cooking and eating, Dr Nayak says weight gain in cancer patients is a cause of worry, particularly amongst cancer survivors who have undergone chemotherapy, steroid treatment, and hormone treatments.
Dr Nayak specializes in surgeries for treating colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, and esophageal cancer. That’s not all. For scar less neck dissection for oral/ tongue cancer and thyroid surgery, he is considered the best surgeon in India.
Speaking about his approach to cancer treatment, Dr Nayak recalls that minimal access surgery which includes robotic and laparoscopic surgery, “It had not become popular when I started in Bangalore. Though there were many advantages to the patient, there were hardly anyone trained in the newer technologies. Any technology is only as good as the person using it. With so many benefits, I had to make it available to people. It was a daunting task which took me 10 years. Presently these techniques have become popular.”
45-year-old Dr Nayak, who did his doctorate in surgical oncology in India, has an international visiting fellowship in surgical oncology from Detroit Medical College as well as Detroit (USA) Fellowship for Surgical Oncology Award. Among his manifold academic and professional achievements are multiple Scientific papers and academic journals on Robotic Thyroidectomy, Minimally Invasive Neck Dissection and Modified Video Endoscopic Inguinal Lymphadenectomy. Nayak has demonstrated robotic and laparoscopic surgeries at multiple national and international conferences. Founder of MACS clinic in Bangalore where he is the Chief surgical oncologist. 
A strong believer in motivating his team, which includes 10 cancer surgeons, Dr Nayak states, “I believe in an inclusive style where everyone is responsible for their work. They are their own boss….. Mine is a growing team of professionals who believe in ethical practice. We work according to our mission statement. This is my second family.”
Hailing from Mangalore, Dr Nayak’s father was a bank employee and his mother a housewife. Lauding his parent’s insistence on quality education, Dr Nayak says they were supportive of all his ventures “that allowed me to achieve what I have achieved today.” Dr Nayak also credits his wife, Dr Soumya, an anesthetist, for his success and growth.
Talking about his MACS Clinic, Dr Nayak says it was started in 2013 with an intention to provide quality cancer care including robotic and laparoscopic cancer surgery in Bangalore. “Over time our efforts and quality made us popular across India and many parts of the world. The intention was quality rather than popularity. MACS clinic is associated with multiple hospitals to provide equitable care for patients from different economic strata,” states Dr Nayak.
In the last 3 years, MACS Clinic has provided care to over 9000 patients.
MACS Clinic’s USP is the thrust on minimal invasive surgery. Other highlights are the unique surgical techniques invented by Dr Nayak like RABIT for thyroid, MIND for head and neck cancers. “We are one of the very few teams to perform robotic parotid gland surgery. These relate to head and neck cancer,” states Dr Nayak, highlighting that his team also performs complex cancer surgeries like esophageal cancer surgery, whipple’s procedure, gynecological cancers, breast cancer and rectal cancer surgery called ISR (avoiding the colostomy bag in most patients). Most of these surgeries are done with laparoscopy or robotically.
Dr Nayak’s vision is to “to serve those who seek our help in defeating cancer. We have also started an NGO called Samrohana through which I want to improve cancer awareness among people. We also have the intention of raising funds for treatment, etc. as we grow.”