Civic body to expand cancer-care facilities

With growing strain on the city's premier cancer-care centres, BMC is now in talks with them to expand its own oncology treatment facilities for patients in the early stages of cancer. The cost of treatment will be markedly lower for citizens, especially those eligible under the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Arogya Yojana.

Civic-run B Y L Nair Hospital will be the first to get these facilities. Currently, it is the only municipal hospital with a radiotherapy centre. Officials said there are also plans to introduce detection centres that will serve to identify cervical, breast and oral cancer.

Additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said, "There is a three-month waiting period before a patient can get treatment at Tata hospital. We are trying to reduce the waiting period by providing timely care."

"The hospital will get treatment material at the same rate as Tata Memorial, which is substantially lower than the market rate," said Dr M K Sanjana, dean of Nair hospital and in charge of executing the programme. "At present, doctors from Tata Memorial Hospital and Prince Aly Khan Hospital assist our general surgeons in gastrointestinal cancer surgeries. This will now extend to trickier surgeries for malignant tumours in the lungs, oesophagus, brain, ear, nose and throat. We are identifying doctors who will perform these surgeries under their training," he added.

On March 2, the civic body will inaugurate its first 75-bed chemotherapy facility at Nair hospital. "We have outsourced two adult oncologists and a paediatric oncologist. They will be stationed in the OPD twice a week and will oversee chemotherapy sessions in two shifts. Necessary medication following the sessions will be available at medical stores in the hospital," said Dr Sanjana.

"We have blocked around Rs 3-4 crore for acquiring the latest chemotherapy machines. These have been imported from Europe and it may take some time for them to arrive at the hospital," said Dr Sanjana.

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