Dr Ranjana Srivastava OAM

Oncologist, Fulbright Scholar, Writer & Broadcaster

Welcome to my website! I am a physician practicing oncology and internal medicine in Australia. I believe that the art of medicine is as important as its science and I am grateful for the support of the institutions and individuals who make it possible for me to promote my mission.

I invite you to read my columns and books and get in touch with your comments.

Doctor Ranjana Srivastava is an oncologist working in one of the most diverse communities in Melbourne. She explains the challenges of delivering what is often the news no patient wants to hear.
According to the World Health Organisation, replacing your knee, hip or shoulder is the second safest surgery in the world, after removing cataracts. So when is it time to have the operation? Ranjana Srivastava interviews a patient and a surgeon about their experiences.
Although my patient constantly and laughingly referred to himself as a "vegetable", I never got used to it. I cringed at the expression, often wondering how he really felt beneath the smiles. Short in height and morbidly obese, he hated moving and told everyone how much he loved fat and sugar, preferably together.
My young refugee patient is perched uncomfortably and too high up on an ambulance trolley. He is so small and malnourished that there is enough space on the narrow stretcher to accommodate the fat folder of notes that have come along with him for the ride.
Twenty years ago, there were only 500 weight loss surgeries nationwide. By 2015 though, that number had jumped to 23,000 annually. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the vast majority of weight loss procedures are done in private hospitals, and 79% of patients are women. Interview and production: Ranjana Srivastava for Radio National.
My patient with an intellectual disability sits in a wheelchair, with enough capacity to mention the word "cancer" and to start crying, but not enough to follow the subsequent thread of conversation in which I tell him that there is no good treatment for his disease.
It didn't dawn on me until later but I must have seen a thousand patients before I met my first Aboriginal patient. The only thing I remember about him was that he was never in his bed, instead choosing to abscond every time we came on a ward round.

On The Art of Medicine | Ranjana Srivastava | TEDxFulbrightMelbourne

What I learnt from my experience is that while the technical things matter, what matters most of all is the art of medicine. Ranjana Srivastava is an oncologist, award-winning author and columnist for The Guardian. She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her work on doctor-patient communication.
I guess I have been practicing this conversation in my mind ever since I met your mum and tried to push back in my mind the inevitability of what was bound to happen when I assumed her care. Your mum was my patient. I was her oncologist.
An oppressive winter has finally given way to the happiness of spring. Pretty flowers are in bloom and the bare trees promise to be in leaf again. As I walk into the weekend round, I feel happy for my patients who might be discharged, or simply set foot outdoors.
She is grunting from the work of breathing. Perched at the edge of a chair, she hunches over her walking frame in order to find a comfortable position to speak the few sentences she can manage. Having watched her decline, I estimate she has weeks to live.
Author and Indian MP Shashi Tharoor on "the real story of the British in India"; Australian Senator Sam Dastyari on his fall from grace.