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Kochi Set to Become Kerala’s Cancer Care Hub

Kochi is set to become the cancer treatment hub of the state. A few prominent hospitals (mostly private ones) in the city are already offering advanced cancer treatment. While work on the main building of Cochin Cancer Research Center (CCRC) has already started, some of the private hospitals such as Lisie and Rajagiri have started construction of cancer care units. In the first phase, CCRC will be a Rs 380-crore project. It will have departments such as medical oncology, surgical oncology and radiation therapy. Outpatient (OP) department of CCRC was started in November 2016. “Now, we have started the inpatient (IP) wing also. We have conducted surgeries as well. Now, surgeries are being done at the operation theaters of Government Medical College (GMC), Ernakulam. It is expected that one of the operation theaters of GMC will soon be handed over to us,” said CCRC medical superintendent Dr Balagopal P G.

“When the first phase gets over, there will be 400 IP beds and facilities for more than 500 OPs daily. Earlier, research was envisaged only in the second phase of CCRC. But CCRC director Mony Kuriakose included research in the first phase itself. So, CCRC would be a full-fledged cancer care and research institution right from the completion of the first phase,” he said. There will be facility for 50 patients to undergo chemotherapy at a time. As per the schedule, the first phase of CCRC could be commissioned in December 2020. Construction of the Rs 170-crore cancer center of Lisie Hospital has already been started. “Piling works are over. We expect that the cancer center could be opened within two-and-a-half years,” said Fr Thomas Vaikathuparambil who heads the project. “Ours will be a full-fledged cancer care institution with modern facilities, including 200 beds and two linear accelerators,” he said. According to officials with Rajagiri Hospital, Chunangamvely, Aluva, they already have an oncology department.

“But we don’t have radiation facilities and so, we have to refer our patients to other hospitals. We have started construction of a new block, which will be attached with cancer care unit along with general medicine department. There will be linear accelerators and facilities for positron emission tomography scan,” said chief strategic management officer of Rajagiri Hospital, Andra Kurian. Number of patients seeking treatment for various types of cancer is on the rise in Kochi. “Around 4500 new patients seek treatment here,” said head of cancer registry of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Edappally, P Gangadharan. “Unlike in other parts of the state, cases of breast cancer are slightly more in Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode districts. Cases of multiple myeloma are found more in Kochi, the reason for which is yet to be found,” said Dr Balagopal. Dr Sanil Kumar of Justice Krishna Iyer Movement, which is in the forefront of public movements demanding more cancer care facilities in the public sector, said that it is a positive development. “We see it as good sign. People will have more options,” Kumar said. – TOI