Monday, 30th October 2017

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RIMS to start oral cancer surgery

Godsend for poor patients who need to pay only for medicines

  • Published 7.09.15

Poor and lower middle class oral cancer patients will finally get relief from mounting surgical bills starting this month, as the oncology wing of state-run RIMS in Ranchi plans to start surgeries in full steam.

Cost of oral cancer surgeries at private hospitals usually starts at Rs 2 lakh and often goes beyond. At RIMS, patients would have to pay for medicines, but surgery and chemotherapy will be free.

Dr Zahid Mustafa Khan, assistant professor of ear, nose and throat (ENT) department of RIMS, who has specialisation in conducting oral surgeries, said RIMS got a bulk of patients suffering from oral or mouth cancers.

Oral or mouth cancer commonly involves the tongue, but may also occur on the floor of the mouth, cheek lining, gums, lips, or palate (the roof of the mouth).

"On any given day, we get 75 cancer patients of which at least 50 have oral or throat cancer," Dr Khan said.

So far, RIMS treated oral cancer in early stages through radiation. "Confirmed through biopsy for oral cancer, minute nodes or oncogenic small tumours, are given radiation," Dr Khan said. "But from this month, we will do surgeries also. We want to let the general public know we are equipped to handle oral cancer surgeries," he stressed.

He added they were looking forward to a formal public announcement by health minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi this month on this aspect.

Availability of chemotherapy would be an added advantage for patients who undergo surgery at RIMS, he said.

Talking about types of patients RIMS usually get, he said: "Mostly, what I have seen in last one year are oral cancer patients habituated to chewing tobacco, gutkha, pan and pan masala. Rural people in this belt are addicted to bidi and gutkha and as a result, the density of patients with oral and throat cancer at RIMS is increasing. Chain smokers get throat cancer."

So, can RIMS handle surgeries in other body parts affected by cancer, especially breast and uterus? "Equipment-wise we have everything but the institute doesn't have enough manpower. So, frankly, it is too early to talk about other operations right now. If we have more doctors and surgeons, treating cancer at RIMS will be easier and will benefit a large number of people," Dr Khan said.