When Anil Dhople, MD, a board-certified radiation oncologist, joins Tanner’s Roy Richards, Sr., Cancer Center
later this year, he’ll bring with him a wealth of experience in radiotherapeutic cancer treatments.
Since 2010, Dr. Dhople has been a radiation oncologist at Health-First Cancer Institute in Melbourne, Florida. He began his distinguished educational training at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he graduated with a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering.
When it comes to cancer detection, Dr. Dhople advocates routine screening and early detection — including annual mammograms.
“Early detection and screening are the most important things that have changed in the past 50 years,” said Dr. Dhople. “Early detection means we can minimize treatments for patients. That’s been the evolution in the past 30 years. It lets us form a cohesive plan with the breast surgeon and the medical oncologist so we can do less and achieve more. At Tanner, we’ll be able to discuss each individual breast cancer patient and come up with unique strategies to help them overcome breast cancer.”
For breast cancer patients, early detection means doing more by doing less.
“We’ve known, since the 1980s, that detecting cancer earlier means we have more treatment options,” said Dr. Dhople. “Women don’t have to have full mastectomies; we can get away with less treatment. If we find it early enough, there are some patients with whom we may not need to use radiation therapy at all.”
Dr. Dhople earned his medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, Florida, completed his internship in internal medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, and residency in radiation oncology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he was chief resident. Following his residency at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, he served as an assistant professor and clinical radiation oncologist.
With Tanner, Dr. Dhople — who joins as a part of the patient care team at Tanner Radiation Oncology and quality advisor for Tanner Cancer Care — will have access to state-of-the-art radiotherapy technologies.
“The accuracy of the radiotherapy machines has improved dramatically,” said Dr. Dhople. “The accuracy of modern radiation machines is at a level that has never been achieved before. And Tanner has the Rolls Royce of that type of equipment — we can be more accurate than ever before.”
Tanner Cancer Care’s technology allows image guidance, so Tanner can target tumors more precisely, focusing radiation on the tumor while preserving health tissue.
The technology allows for “respiratory gating,” said Dr. Dhople, allowing the cancer center to focus radiation where it needs to be even as a patient breathes. That keeps the radiation where physicians want it without compromising healthy tissue.
“That means we can reduce the exposure to radiation for underlying organs,” said Dr. Dhople.
Administering external beam radiation to a breast cancer patient means sending a high-frequency beam of radiation across the chest. Beneath the chest is the heart.
“A patient can take a deep breath in, and we can administer the dose of radiation while she holds that breath,” said Dr. Dhople. “Filling the lungs with air pushes the heart out of the way. Our technology produces an infrared surface rendering of the chest, and we can see when the shape changes and administer the dose at the right time.”
Dr. Dhople has remained at the forefront of cancer treatment research, looking for new ways of delivering care that improves outcomes and patients’ experiences.
“Cancer care is getting better all the time,” said Dr. Dhople. “It’s more accurate, more targeted, more personalized than ever. It’s exciting to imagine what we’ll be able to do in 10, 15 years from now.”
“If you can do a less aggressive treatment and achieve the same success as aggressive interventions, then we shouldn’t put people through a more invasive treatment,” said Dr. Dhople.
At Tanner Cancer Care, Dr. Dhople will be part of a broad, team-based approach to cancer care that incorporates a host of specialists, all working toward the best possible outcome for patients.
“We’re going to have a team approach,” said Dr. Dhople. “Everyone who comes to Tanner should know that we have a cohesive team. Every physician is going to know what everyone else on the team is doing.”
With Tanner Radiation Oncology and as the quality advisor for Tanner Cancer Care, Dr. Dhople will be immersed in ensuring each breast cancer patient receives the best possible level of treatment.
“We have a dedicated breast surgeon, we have medical oncologists who are well-versed in the genomics of the tumors and a radiation oncologist who’s versed in the latest technologies to radiate the tumors,” said Dr. Dhople. “That puts patients in the best possible spot for the best possible outcome.”
Dr. Dhople also touted how Tanner Cancer Care’s patients had access to a host of cancer services unique to a regional health system, including dietician services, pastoral care, nurse navigators, behavioral health services, 24-hour emergency care and more.
“I’ve been amazed that Tanner recognizes the importance of offering these ancillary services,” said Dr. Dhople. “That’s one of the things that puts Tanner on the leading-edge for cancer patients.”