The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Patients seek better cancer facilities at hospitals

Doctors and cancer survivors have appealed to the government to improve facilities for cancer treatment in state-run hospitals.

On national cancer awareness day, or Rose Day (September 22), cancer specialists from city hospitals appealed to the government to equip state-run hospitals with “machines, medicines and manpower” so patients do not have to be turned away untreated.

Every year, around 65,000 new cancer patients approach state-run hospitals, most of whom cannot afford expensive medication. Several thousand, reportedly, die uncared for due to the lack of infrastructure.

Hospital authorities plead helplessness. “We are short of specialists. We have requested the government to provide quality doctors and a better working atmosphere, as well as basic equipment. None of the state-run hospitals possess these,” said Medical College and Hospital head of department (radiotherapy) Subir Ganguly.

Plans for 18 more cancer detection centres in the districts have been announced. Four new radiotherapy units are in the pipeline, which will decrease the pressure on city hospitals.

Director of medical education C.R. Maity said that due to the increase in detected cancer cases, the government’s focus is on cancer prevention.

“Though the death toll from cancer is mounting, one-third of all cancer cases are curable,” said Maity.

Awareness campaigns must be strengthened so people realise that cancer is a lifestyle disease that can be controlled. The government has decided to ask cancer specialists from government hospitals to extend their work beyond hospital walls and reach out to the masses.

The issue of supply of cancer medicines to those who cannot afford them was also taken up.

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