A comprehensive cancer treatment centre will start operations in Howrah from Sunday. With the induction of a separate oncology wing to the People’s Medi-Treat Private Ltd — a 65-bed hospital on Netaji Subhas Road in Howrah — cancer patients have one more place to get themselves treated.
So far, medical colleges and hospitals in Calcutta and the Westbank hospital on Andul Road were taking care of the bulk of patients, especially from the rural areas. According to estimates, over 7,000 cancer patients flock to three major hospitals in Calcutta — Medical College and Hospital, Chittaranjan Cancer Research Institute and Thakurpukur Cancer Hospital. Most patients come from Howrah, Midnapore and Hooghly districts, where no treatment facilities are available.
While a cancer detection centre is all that exists in the Midnapore hospital, Westbank hospital is hampered by the lack of a radio-therapy unit. So it refers patients to Nilratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital.
The new cancer wing in Howrah has been opened at a cost of Rs 22 lakh. “For years, lack of facilities in the districts forced rural patients to run to the city. But now we hope to stop this exodus,” said executive director of the hospital A.K. Sengupta.
Apart from cancer of the cervix and breast, which has risen considerably over the years, the hospital will also treat lung and prostate cancer. Four onco-surgeons, two ENT specialists, two gynaecologists and two medical oncologists comprise the initial staff of the hospital, that also promises to introduce emergency services in future.
“The doctors will be on call nearly 24 hours,” said oncologist and the prime mover behind the project, Subrata Saha, on Saturday. As a part of its services, the hospital will conduct several camps in remote villages of the state to locate cancer patients.
n Health meet: Admitting that dental care has remained neglected for years, health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra said the government was planning to rope in more dental surgeons at city and district hospitals. Mishra was inaugurating the annual conference of the Indian Dental Association on Saturday.