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Convergence of efforts needed to battle cancer: Experts


OST Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 4:

Convergence of efforts by stakeholders to tackle the scourge of cancer would tip the scales in favour of those battling the disease at all levels, experts said at a gathering of cancer survivors here on Tuesday.

A person detected with the disease should not go into a depression or give up but face the issue boldly, the doctors treating the patient should correctly diagnose the problem and provide the right treatment while hospitals should come forward to ensure that the cost of treatment remained low, they said.

“Cancer is the third largest killer in our country after ailments related to heart and brain. Changes in lifestyle and food habits have a lot to do with the rise in incidence,” Prof (Dr) Ashok Kumar Mohapatra, Director of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, told the gathering at the IMS and Sum Hospital run by SOA University, to mark World Cancer Day on Tuesday.

Advancements in technology and modern treatment available to the patients have, in recent years, greatly enabled patients to battle the disease and live long, but hospitals should come forward to help patients in lowering the treatment cost, he said.

Mohapatra said hospitals could negotiate with drug companies to get the medicines at a lower cost so that the benefit could be passed on to the patients.

Hockey Olympian and Rajya Sabha member Dilip Tirkey, who was the chief guest at the program, called upon the youth to adhere to a healthy lifestyle and shun junk food if they wanted to avoid health problems.

“They must also go for some sport. Creating awareness about these issues is the most important thing,” he said.

Dr Sunil Agrawal, head of the department of Surgical Oncology at the Sum Hospital, said he and his team had been treating cancer patients in the hospital with success though early detection of the disease still remained the golden rule. The hospital had the required facilities to treat cancer patients, he said.

“As doctors, we have to keep an eye on the emotional, social and economic fallout of the disease once a person is detected with cancer. Treating them with a human touch is of paramount importance,” he said.

Around 150 cancer patients, who had undergone treatment in the surgical oncology department of the Sum Hospital, attended the program. Many of them shared their experiences on the occasion.

“I had lost my husband long ago and had to run a family with my husband’s meagre pension of Rs 5000 per month. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was crestfallen. I came to Sum Hospital for treatment. Though I had no money, Dr Agrawal continued my treatment till I recovered,” said P Santiago as tears filled her eyes.

Nine-year-old Subrat Boral, a boy from Nimapara, also narrated his experience as to how he was treated for a cancerous growth on his thigh and had recovered. “I thank Dr Agrawal for treating me,” he said.

Dr Harsh Mohan Pathak, consultant oral and Maxillo-facial surgeon at the Institute of Dental Sciences (IDS), also run by the SOA University, said a cancer patient spends Rs 14,597 on an average before he reaches the proper centre for treatment.

“About 60 per cent of the patients present today who have recovered had come to Sum Hospital for treatment as soon as they sensed trouble,” he said.

Among others, Prof Sureswar Mohanty, head of Neuro Surgery department of Sum Hospital and Dr BK Das of Utkal Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar also addressed the gathering which was presided over by Dr PK Mohanty, Medical Superintendent of Sum Hospital.