Cancer patients suffer as GMC Anantnag lacks Radiotherapy facility

Representational Pic
Representational Pic

Anantnag, May 26: In absence of Radiotherapy facility at Government Medical College ( GMC) Anantnag, cancer patients are suffering in south Kashmir.

The cancer patients from the area have to travel to Srinagar and other hospitals to receive the Radiotherapy sessions. The Oncology department that was started in 2019 with the establishment of GMC is bereft of radiation equipments like Telecobalt and Linear Accelerator ( LINAC) machines, spurring hundreds of patients to seek treatment from other hospitals.

 Moving to other hospitals not only increases their treatment cost, but also causes many hardships to the patients and their families. Samia, a resident of Anantnag and a class 12 student whose mother was diagnosed with cancer last year, had to shift, temporarily, their base to Srinagar to complete the radiotherapy sessions of her mother.

"We put up in a rental accommodation till her radiotherapy sessions were completed", she said.

Samia said that shifting to Srinagar not only increased their treatment cost but also suffered her studies.

"Even some patients leave the treatment halfway through due to the lack of finances", she added.

Sher Khan, 65, another patient from Zamalgam, an outlying village in Dooru area said that he was sent to Srinagar from GMC, Anantnag for the radiotheraphy.

Khan, who belonged to marginalised Gujjar community said that the treatment drained all his life long savings and now it is very difficult for him to travel to Srinagar.  "My three sons are doing menial jobs to scrape a living. We can't afford travel expanses or accommodation in Srinagar.", Khan said.

He said that he would not have to struggle so much, had the treatment been available in Anantnag.

Two more patients interviewed for this story from district Kulgam echoed the similar views.

The south Kashmir has witnessed balloning number of cancer patients over the past few years. According to the hospital based cancer registry( HBCR), around 700 cancer patients are registered with GMC, Annatnag.

The facility not only receives patients from the southern parts of Kashmir but also from Banihal and it's adjoining areas.

Dr Mohamamd Ashraf, who heads Department of Radiation Oncology told Greater Kashmir due to the non-availability of radiation equipments they have to send the patients to Srinagar. "Although we have three consultant radiation oncologists and two radiotherapists available with the department, we lack the radiation machines ", he said.

He said that the referrals put anextra burden on the hospitals in Srinagar.

 Dr Ashraf, however, added that the authorities are working to make the equipments available at the facility.

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