A hospital for detection and treatment of blood cancer opened its doors in Salt Lake on Friday, adding to the limited facilities for cancer treatment in the city and prompting doctors to call for setting up more such units. Parkview Super Speciality Hospital, which is spread across nine floors and has 70 beds, can treat people with blood cancers such as leukaemia and lymphoma and has facilities for bone marrow transplant with specialised air filtration to minimise chances of infection. It also has facilities for treatment of other blood disorders such as haemophilia, which is characterised by unusual thinning of blood, and thrombosis, in which blood clots in veins, at times with fatal consequences. Among the other departments are surgical oncology, orthopaedics and urology.
“Our hospital has a specialised laboratory to detect blood disorders, including cancer. For leukaemia, we will get the results of the confirmatory bone marrow test within 30 minutes, so that we can start treatment early,” said haemato-oncologist Shilpa Bhartia, who leads the cancer wing of the hospital. According to oncologists, Bengal has three-four lakh cancer patients. Around 80,000 cases are detected every year. Around 10 percent of the new patients – 8000 – suffer from blood cancer. “There are very few centers that offer a comprehensive treatment for blood cancer – from detection to chemotherapy to bone marrow transplant. Because of the sheer number of patients, many more centers are needed,” said surgical oncologist Gautam Mukhopadhyay.
The waiting period for cancer treatment at private and government hospitals stretches to months. A senior official of Tata Medical Center said they had to turn away 40 percent of the patients who come for radiotherapy daily and the waiting time for some surgeries are two-three months. At Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, the waiting time for radiotherapy is one month. “Exceptions are made at times. Patients in whom the disease is progressing very fast are given priority, while people with cancers that progress slowly, such as that of the prostate, have to wait. The situation is not ideal,” CNCI director Tapas Maji said. – Telegraph India