Tata Memorial Hospital plans major expansion for child cancer patients

Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) in Parel has decided to expand to treat the 2,000 child cancer patients it receives every year.

TMH, one of top cancer treatment facilities in the country that gets over 40,000 patients every year, has only 28 beds for children.

It is planning 50 beds for paediatric patients on one floor, in addition to 45 to be spread in other wards.

Paediatric cancer usually occurs up to 15 years of age.

"Five per cent of all cancers occur among children, but awareness regarding paediatric cancer is low. Causes and treatment of cancer are different in children and adults. Cancer in children is curable, provided there is timely treatment," said Shripad Banavali, head of paediatric cancer department at TMH.

Children undergoing treatment at the hospital will be shifted to another floor to avoid infections during renovation. TMH will also develop a 150-bed wing for women and child patients at Haffkine Institute.

"Children from all over the country come to TMH. The treatment period varies from 1-3 years. However, it is seen children deal with the disease better than adults. As they have no mental baggage, their immune system tackles cancer better," Banavali said.

To ensure children do not miss out on school, BMC has tied up with TMH to hold classes for paediatric cancer patients. While no separate fund has been earmarked, an NGO has been roped in to organise basic classes.

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