A 150-bed cancer hospital is coming up at Nayabad in Garia. The second facility of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute off Park Street, is expected to open this year.

Cancer care facilities in the city are grossly inadequate and patients have to wait for months for treatment, forcing many to head for the south or Mumbai.

The hospital in Garia will be spread across 50,000 sqft area and is being built at a cost of Rs one crore. It will offer surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy under one roof. The facility will have modern equipment for radiotherapy, nuclear medicine as well as surgical oncology, in addition to a dedicated research wing, the hospital authorities said.

"For radiotherapy, we have procured a dual-energy linear accelerator capable of image-guided emission to treat cancer tumours. We will also have two other lower-end machines - a machine for brachytherapy and one for tele cobalt therapy - to serve more patients," said Ashis Mukherjee, the medical director of the hospital.

"We are very excited about the hypaque system in surgery that would allow chemotherapy drugs to be administered during surgery to areas such as the peritoneum - the membrane lining the cavity of the abdomen - that cannot be reached through intra-venous injection," he said.

The research would focus on cell cytology, which deals with the study of cells in terms of structure, function and chemistry, besides molecular biology and gene study.

About 80,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Bengal every year. If those diagnosed earlier are counted, the total count jumps tenfold to 8 lakh - for whom the city can offer only 2,000-odd beds.

In one private cancer hospital in the city, which has two linear accelerators, the waiting time for radiotherapy is three months with both machines running from 8am to 1am daily. The waiting time for both surgery and radiation is a month at Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute.

The only positive note: Tata Medical Center is coming up with a 200-bed extension at its New Town address this year.

At the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, 7,000 or 20 percent of the 38,000 cancer patients are from Bengal. Similarly, 40 percent of the patients at Apollo Hospital, Chennai, are from Bengal. – The Telegraph India 

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