No cancer treatment facility for north Kashmir that comprises Valley’s 21% cancer patients

No cancer treatment facility for north Kashmir that comprises Valley’s 21% cancer patients
This is despite the Government Medical College (GMC) Baramulla having the Department of Oncology in place.Flickr [Creative Commons]

Baramulla: Despite a growing number of cases of cancer patients being registered from three districts of north Kashmir, there is no cancer treatment facility for such patients.

This is despite the Government Medical College (GMC) Baramulla having the Department of Oncology in place.

The lack of requisite facility for such treatment has turned the Oncology department here almost “defunct”.

As per the population-based cancer registry available at SKIMS, Srinagar, Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts of north Kashmir constitute 21 percent of total cancer patients of Kashmir division.

Despite growing cases of cancer patients across north Kashmir, the non-existence of treatment is forcing such patients to visit outside J&K hospitals or rely on already overcrowded SKIMS or Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar.

“The SKIMS as well as other government treatment facilities at Srinagar remain overcrowded with such patients. The patients have no choice but to move outside J&K for early treatment,” said Asif Hussain, a resident of Drugmulla Kupwara.

Moving outside J&K for cancer treatment comes at a huge cost.

“I sold my 2 kanal land at Drugmulla. I completed treatment of my daughter at a Delhi hospital but the expenditure was massive and made a huge dent to my economic position. The Srinagar hospitals are already overburdened with such patients. Had such a treatment facility been available anywhere in north Kashmir, I would have preferred getting treatment for my daughter here,” Hussain said.

The GMC Baramulla authorities some time back said that they had started chemotherapy at the hospital.

However, they said that due to the lack of accommodation, chemotherapy could not continue and were now mulling to start it effectively later.

“We are starting a 15-bed chemotherapy facility for cancer patients here at GMC Baramulla. The facility will prove beneficial for hundreds of such patients hailing from north Kashmir,” said Dr Mir Waseem of GMC Baramulla.

Head of the Department of Oncology, Baramulla, Dr Maqbool said that the highest number of cancer patients belongs to north Kashmir.

He said that for an effective cancer treatment under one roof, there was a need for having a facility for surgery besides radiation and chemotherapy equipment at the hospital.

Dr Maqbool said that there were three oncologists besides two nurses at the Oncology department at GMC Baramulla.

“For a better diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients, the department needs linear accelerators or cobalt machines to deliver external beam therapy. If such facilities are kept available at the GMC Baramulla, we will be able to treat patients from north Kashmir,” he said.

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