Govt to ensure cancer follow-up in districts: Minister

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government is taking steps to improve the infrastructure for cancer care in the state by extending treatment facilities in the districts, Health and Family Welfare minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said on Thursday.

“A Linear Accelerator, a modern device used to treat cancer, was installed at the Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre (AHRCC) at Cuttack recently while steps were being initiated to provide cancer screening and follow-up treatment in the districts,” Nayak said while addressing a ‘cancer survivors’ program’ held at the SOA University to mark the World Cancer Day.

“Initially, the government is planning to introduce such treatment facilities including chemotherapy in ten district headquarter hospitals and it will be extended to other districts subsequently,” the minister said, adding that doctors were being trained in Delhi and Mumbai and would be posted in the districts soon.

Patients, who were being treated at the AHRCC, were being provided all cancer related drugs free of cost through ‘Niramaya’, the program launched through the Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd (OSMCL), he averred.

Delving into statistics, he said that cancer had affected over 14 million people worldwide with around three million of them being in India alone. Around 1.2 million new patients were getting added to that list every year, he said adding the greatest need was to create awareness about the disease.

Prof DK Roy, Medical Director of IMS and Sum Hospital, presided over the function which was addressed by senior journalists Dilip Satpathy and Chandrabhanu Patnaik, both of whom had a brush with cancer.

Satpathy said people afflicted with cancer should not think that the doctor’s report was a ‘death sentence’ but face the situation with courage.

Lauding the government for its efforts to provide drugs to cancer patients free of cost, he suggested that the facility should be extended to those under treatment in government hospitals in the districts. “Besides, government and private hospitals should stress on counseling as the patients needed a huge amount of psychological boost to deal with cancer,” he said.

Narrating his own experience, Patnaik said the person afflicted with the disease required mental strength to face the situation. “But certain things in life happen because they need to happen to help us understand life,” he said.

Roy said that the IMS and Sum Hospital would be procuring a Linear Accelerator soon besides PET Scan machine and open a paediatric oncology wing.

Dr Nirupama Mishra, a gynaecologist herself in a PSU, recounted her experience after being diagnosed with cancer while urging the medical fraternity to think more about palliative care for patients.

Prof PK Mohanty, Consultant, Hospital Services for Sum Hospital, said once a person was diagnosed with cancer should be informed that it was a condition which could be taken care of. “There is no reason to cause someone to get frightened,” he said.