The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Single-roof cancer care

Equipment from all over the world and trained nurses from Kerala: the first to ensure quality treatment and the second to prevent wildcat strikes.

State transport minister Subhas Chakraborty on Sunday unveiled Calcutta’s “first super-speciality cancer treatment and research institute”, with 50 beds and a Rs 50-crore investment.

Chakraborty handed over an 18-cottah plot with an existing building in Salt Lake to the brains behind the project — a team of leading oncologists coming together to stem the exodus of patients from Calcutta.

“I have seen cancer patients from Calcutta flocking to Mumbai,” he said. “But this will be a very different hospital from the ones usually seen here,” the minister asserted. Stressing “work culture” as the distinctive feature of the proposed hospital, Chakraborty said: “We have decided to recruit trained nurses from Kerala to avoid union problems.”

Nearly nine lakh new cancer patients queue up at Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai every year, of which 60,000 are from West Bengal alone.

“This trend is very disturbing and we must stop it,” agreed member of the faculty Ashis Mukherjee. “I hope the comprehensive infrastructure here contributes in stemming the tide.”

The Salt Lake hospital will have surgical oncology, radiation oncology, medical and haemato-oncology departments, in which a highly experienced team from Tata Memorial Hospital will guide city oncologists, disclosed S.K. Advani, another faculty member.

Advani said: “Calcutta has the human resources but lacks the infrastructure to cope with patient pressure.” The oncologist has volunteered to visit the Salt Lake hospital “once every month”. He said: “Patients here will be able to undergo diagnosis, comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation under one roof, which is lacking in Calcutta.”

The faculty members plan to construct a 10-storeyed building, with ancillary services, like a pathology unit, a radiology department, a blood bank and well-equipped laboratories. “We will lay more stress on preventive oncology at the centre, with bi-weekly special consultation clinics,” said Advani.

One focus area will be the fight against breast cancer. “The incidence of breast cancer has increased by leaps and bounds over the years and this needs to be checked through spread of awareness,” said oncologist A.P. Majumdar. “We believe that preventive programmes undertaken by the faculty here will bring down the incidence of cancer,” said Advani.

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