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(Late) Dr. Arun P. Kurkure

On Saturday July 14, 2012, the medical profession and the Indian Cancer Society lost one of its leading luminaries, Dr. Arun P. Kurkure.

Dr. Kurkure, a world-renowned breast and gynecological cancer surgeon passed away at the age of 61 after a two-year bravely fought battle with colon cancer leaving his family, friends and colleagues greatly bereaved.

An honest, good, kind, and gentle man of great integrity, Dr. Arun P. Kurkure was a perfectionist in all that he did and a brilliant surgeon.

Dr. Kurkure was not only engaged in pioneering work in his medical profession, but also carried forward his crusade against cancer through his deep involvement with the Indian Cancer Society (ICS), India’s first and most prominent cancer NGO. He was the Hon. Secretary & Managing Trustee of the Indian Cancer Society since the last 10 years and was committed to alleviating the misery of poor cancer patients, early detection and awareness of the disease and cancer control in India and was instrumental in initiating a wide range of cancer care activities for the poor and the under privileged under the aegis of Indian Cancer Society.

His vision and foresight for the future of ICS was instrumental in reviving ICS in 2007-08 by inviting top leaders from the corporate, finance and legal worlds to join the National Managing Committee of the Society. United together in their commitment towards this noble cause, they, with Dr. Kurkure have steered ICS back on to the track of achievement and great accomplishments in the last 4 years.

Dr. Kurkure’s commitment to the cause of cancer cure and control was legendary and prompted him to acquire India’s first digital mammography van for ICS which enables women from the poorer sections of society to undergo screening for breast cancer. His great desire to assist poor cancer patients with their treatment costs gave birth to the HDFC-ICS Cancer Cure Fund, a 3-year debt fund, which now disburses nearly Rs. 4 corers annually to poor cancer patients to help them initiate and complete treatment.

Internationally, Dr. Kurkure served for 10 years on the Board of the International Union against Cancer - UICC, Geneva. He was an active member of the Executive Committee of the Global Cancer Control Institution of the United Nations. He did pioneering research work for early detection of breast cancer and collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) in preparation of a digital atlas and quick reference chart for breast cancer.

At the national level, he was a Member of the Task Force for Formulation of Strategy for Cancer Control and Member of the Technical Resource Group (TRG) for cancer under the National Programme of the Central Government of India. During his tenure, he participated in a number of task forces and expert groups at the policy making level for prevention and control of cancer.

He was the Principal Investigator of the ICS Cancer Registry and published numerous scientific research publications on Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Mumbai, in addition to many scientific and research papers on various aspects of the disease.

Dr. Kurkure was associated with Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai for the last 30 years. His patients remember him as a most gentle, humane and brilliant surgeon who not only took care of them, but also extended his concern to their family members and provided them comfort, guidance and strong emotional support to fight the disease.

Dr. Kurkure fought his own battle with colon cancer with immense courage and fortitude and it is a tribute to his grit and professional commitment that he continued to operate and be available to his patients till his very last day.

Dr. Arun Kurkure is survived by his wife Dr. Purna Kurkure, his daughter Dr. Durva Kurkure, both specialists in cancer, his mother Sushila, his brother and sisters.



(Late) Dr. D. J. Jussawalla
M.S., F.R.C.S., F.A.C.S.,
F.A.M.S., F.N.A., F.A.Sc.
Founder Director of the Institute

Dr. D. J. Jussawalla born on 13th April 1915, started his career as a Cancer Surgeon from 1948 when he was appointed at the Tata Memorial Hospital. He was one of the Founder Cancer Surgeons of the country and made his name as a Radical Surgeon and mastered the techniques of all extensive major operations.

He was a visionary and opened many other avenues of Cancer besides it's therapy. To help the poor and under privileged cancer patients, he founded the Indian Cancer Society in 1951. He nurtured and expanded it's activities during the next over 48 years by establishing Cancer Detection Centres, Population Based Cancer Registry (1963) and a full-fledged Cancer Rehabilitation Centre (1968). He was the first to establish a Department of Cytology and a Department of Chemotherapy in India at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai in 1956. He also started the Indian Journal of Cancer (1963) and the Indian Association of Oncologists (1977).

He was associated actively with UICC from 1954 and also with WHO. He worked with these prestigious organisations in various capacities.

He became the Director of the Tata Memorial Centre in 1973 and served in that capacity for 7 years. During this period, he undertook expansion of the Centre and introduced Regional Specialisation in Surgical Oncology.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field of Cancer in India, he was honoured with many national awards including 'Padmabhushan'.

He was Advisor to multiple Cancer Organisations and Hospitals in India besides being an active Member of many National and International Associations connected with Cancer. He was also President of some of these Associations.

He was Professor of Oncology at the Bombay University and during his life time trained many surgeons who have dissipated the expertise in cancer surgery across the country.

He had multiple publications to his credit in National and International Journals.

Inspite of his exceptionally outstanding achievements, he remained a humble human being all along. As a person, he was most soft spoken, very humane and particularly kind and considerate to poor and under privileged patients. Out of his deep concern for their welfare, he created multiple facilities to provide them with free food, medicine and shelter.

He established the Lady Ratan Tata Medical & Research Centre in 1984, which is also the National Headquarters of the Indian Cancer Society. He remained Director of this Centre till his end.

In the Indian context, he was a pioneer in the field of Cancer and worked relentlessly to initiate newer avenues and left behind a great legacy for others to emulate and draw inspiration.

He breathed his last on 29th January, 1999 after a brief illness.


(Late) Mr. Naval H. Tata
Founder Chairman

Naval H. Tata was born in Bombay in 1904. He graduated from Bombay University in Economics and proceeded to London for a course in Accountancy. On his return to India in 1930, he joined the Tata Organization in very junior positions.

After several promotions, over the years he becomes Chairman of the textile group, the three electric companies, as well as Deputy Chairman of Tata Sons Ltd.

The activities of Naval Tata were not confined to the companies he was associated with. His interests covered a much wider field, notably Labour relations which in those days occupied a very important part in the industrial life of the nation. As President of the Employers Federation of India and as a member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation, he took a leading role in industrial relations. He was also a very keen student of world affairs and took part in a number of meetings at the United Nations in New York.

He also contributed to sports, notably hockey and was President of the Indian Hockey Association for a number of years.

Among the many activities he was associated with in social, educational and welfare fields, the Indian Cancer Society was of a very special interest to him. In 1951 he became its Founder Chairman, a post he held till his death in 1989, involving himself deeply in the working of the organization and securing it financial position at every step. The irony is that cancer also took away his life.

Naval Tata was known for the kindness he showed to all those he met, his affability, his broadmindedness and his high moral values which never wavered.