Agartala gets new radiotherapy machine for cancer

April 21st, 2008 - 10:49 pm ICT by admin  

Agartala, April 21 (IANS) The indigenously made ‘Bhabhatron’ machine that provides external radiotherapy to cancer patients was set up at the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) here Monday at a cost of Rs.18 million - the first of its kind in the northeast. “Upgradation of infrastructure to treat cancer needs to be developed and expanded across the country, especially in the rural areas,” said Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar, who unveiled the sophisticated machine developed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) .

The northeastern region has a high incidence of cancer cases.

According to experts, Mizoram tops the rate of cancer patients with over 200 patients per 100,000 population per year while the other northeastern states have an average of 75 to 125 per 100,000 population. This is much higher than the national average.

Over 900,000 people fall victim to this dreaded disease every year in India, they pointed out at an awareness programme on preventing cancer held on the occassion.

“Incidence of certain types of cancer like oesophagus, lung, mouth, breast and stomach was relatively higher in the northeast as compared to other parts of the country,” noted Gautam Majumder, head of the Agartala Regional Cancer Centre.

The central government will be setting at least one RCC in each of the eight states and upgrading the existing RCCs, officials present at the occasion said.

“The health and family welfare ministry had recognised Dr. B.B. Cancer Institute, Guwahati, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, and Civil Hospital, Mizoram and Cancer hospital in Agartala as RCCs to provide efficient and cost effective treatment to cancer patients in the region,” said Y.P. Singh, principal secretary in the state health department.

“Tobacco and diet habits were among the main causes of cancer in the northeastern region, even though cancer is curable if detected early,” said Partha Sarathy Sutradhar, an oncologist.

The health ministry had earmarked 10 percent of the total budget of the National Cancer Control Programme for the northeastern region.

Said K.A. Dinshaw, director of the Mumbai-based Tata Memorial Hospital : “India needs more than a thousand cancer treatment centres while the country at present has only about 350 such units.”

“Cancer has emerged as one of the 10 leading causes of death in India. It is estimated that there are nearly 2 to 2.5 million cancer cases at any given time,” Dinshaw added.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar inaugurated the awareness programme.

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