The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rs 200-cr uplift in cancer care

For decades, cancer patients from Calcutta and the rest of the state have been travelling down South or to Mumbai for treatment. The trend is set to reverse, with a host of private hospitals, led by the Tatas, planning to invest a whopping Rs 200 crore in cancer treatment in the city.

Tata Medical Centre, a dedicated cancer hospital coming up over 16 acres in Rajarhat, is likely to open its doors in early 2008. Being set up at a cost of Rs 120 crore, the 150-bed hospital will also have an outpatients department and ambulatory care facilities.

The outpatients block, across 42,872 sq ft, will be built in two phases.

“Tata Medical Centre will be a tertiary centre. Apart from cancer prevention and cure, it will offer rehabilitation and palliative care to the patients. It will also act as a research hub,” said an official.

“Cancer care in the region is set for a massive upgrade, with more hospitals being set up and the existing ones focussing on expansion,” pointed out Rupali Basu, secretary, Association of Hospitals of Eastern India and general manager, Wockhardt Hospitals, Calcutta. “The demand is increasing and with it, the need to build infrastructure.”

There are more than 200,000 cancer patients in the state and around 70,000 cases are detected every year. According to the data with Tata Memorial Centre, a dedicated cancer hospital in Mumbai, more than 24 per cent of the 230,000 patients it treats every year come from the East and Northeast.

“Calcutta badly needs at least two or three full-fledged cancer centres. Besides, more hospitals mean more healthy competition and more exchange of expertise,” feels S.K. Todi, director, AMRI Hospitals, which will spend Rs 25 crore to instal state-of-the-art cancer detection and treatment equipment.

The gadgets the hospital has planned to procure are Intensity Modulated Radio Therapy, Image Guided Radio Therapy (the most advanced equipment to destroy malignant tumours) and a Pet CT scan machine. There will also be a new internal nuclear medicine centre.

Echoing Todi’s view, V. Satyanarayana Reddy, CEO, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, said: “The patients will surely benefit from the competition.” The hospital is spending Rs 40 crore on its cancer centre, to be operational this year.

Cancer Centre Welfare Home and Research Institute, Thakurpukur, has lined up upgrade plans worth Rs 12 crore. “Five operating theatres and eight ITUs will be set up in the next three months,” said Saroj Gupta, founder-secretary and director of the centre. Advanced versions of linear accelerator and cobalt therapy machines, too, will be installed.

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