Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday claimed that the Radiotherapy treatment machine at SMHS hospital that was damaged during September 2014 floods was yet to be replaced.
President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said that cancer patients suffer immensely due to lack of Radiotherapy facility in SMHS hospital.
"The Radiation Oncology unit of SMHS hospital that was hit by floods has not been restored. It has been more than two years that the hospital is without the facility that is costing lives. Cobalt 60, the main machine for treatment of cancer patients is yet to be fixed," he said.
"Initially the concerned department said that the machine needs repair, but later for some reasons asked for its replacement. As a result of this dilly-dallying, poor patients have become victims and suffer the consequences."
Dr Hassan said that more than 5000 cancer patients were registered for treatment since April 2010 when the radiation unit started functioning.
"Now, because of non-availability of the equipment, these patients are referred to already overburdened SKIMS. They have to wait for months there, as a large number of patients are already lined up. Though CT Simulator has been installed at SMHS, but without the Cobalt 60, it has no utility," he said.
"The "Linear Accelerator" that was approved for installation by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has not been put in place. This advanced machine would allow doctors to administer highly targeted doses of radiation to patients without damage to surrounding healthy tissue. This would significantly improve the way we treat cancer."
Dr Hassan said that over 1700 people have died of various types of cancer in Kashmir from a period of 2012 to 2014. "This increase in cancer deaths was related to inadequate cancer-related infrastructure and delay in curative treatment. In a year around 4000 cancer cases get registered at SKIMS, 500 in SMHS and 1000 in private sector and these figures are an underestimate as many don't report to hospitals. More than 70% of cancer patients require radiation therapy at some point during the course of their illness," he said.