India's Warrior Against Cervical and Oral Cancers: Dr. Usha Kehar Luthra

Dr. Usha Kehar Luthra is an eminent cytopathologist. A cytopathologist specializes in diagnosing diseases by examining human cells obtained from scrapings, body secretions, and fluids. Dr. Luthra is best known for her contributions to the fight against cervical and oral cancer in India.

Image Credit: Indian National Science Academy

Dr. Luthra obtained her medical education from the Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, and Sarojini Naidu Medical College in Agra. She specialized in cytopathology at Harvard University, International Academy of Cytology, and International Board of Cytopathologists, USA, and also completed a Ph.D. in cytopathology at Agra. She also completed several advanced international certifications in cytopathologic techniques later in her career. She spent her initial years as a medical teacher and professor and later on moved into the profile of a researcher by joining the Indian Council of Medical Research, wherein she rose to become the Additional Director-General.

She utilized all her specialty knowledge and skills to wage a war against cervical and oral cancers, which were the most common cancers troubling Indian patients. Her contributions ranged from establishing specialized diagnostic units; developing screening programs; conducting cancer registries; founding and directing a specialty cancer research institute, now known as National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, Noida; conducting original research works, especially on the cancer biology of the human papillomavirus; training and development of a generation of cytopathologists, and technicians, and promoting the advancement of cytopathology science and methods in India. 

In her fight against cervical and oral cancers, she frequently collaborated with several institutions, such as the World Health Organization, Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital, Kidwai Memorial Cancer Institute, Planning Commission of India, Ministry of Health and its Institutes. Her role as the warrior against cervical and oral cancer was widely recognized in the form of several awards, the most notable being the Padma Shri Award in Medicine from the Government of India in 1992. Post-retirement from public service, she continued her journey by joining as a faculty member at Kuwait University and contributed as an honorary advisor to the Indian Council of Medical Research. 


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About the author: Dr. Naval Asija is a licensed MBBS Physician from India. MBBS is the equivalent of the MD degree offered by international medical schools. He is based in Delhi, India, and works as a medical writer, editor, and consultant. He supports medical researches as an author's editor, medical communication companies involved in medico-marketing activities, and medical technology companies in improving their products. He can be contacted via his LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/navalasija/
Journey of a non clinical doctor



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