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3 years later and Rs 47 cr in kitty, State Cancer Institute yet to get going

Srinagar, Jan 6: Around 4800 cancer patients, 300 more than the preceding year, were reported at SK Institute of Medical Sciences, at Soura, in 2018, even as the hospital is yet to fully upgrade its infrastructure as a State Cancer Institute.

Official data shows that around 4800 patients were diagnosed with several types of the deadly disease in 2018 as compared to 4500 in 2017.

Data shows a higher incidence of the disease in males.

Dr Maqbool lone, Head Radiation Oncology and In-charge Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) SKIMS, told The Kashmir Monitor, that among the male patients there was a higher rate of lung, blood, oesophagus and stomach cancers.

In case of females, the doctor said, breast cancer was at the top, followed by lung, blood, and oesophagus.

In 2015, the RCC was given the status of a State Cancer Institute (SCI).

It became entitled to receive funds to the tune of Rs 120 crore from the union health ministry and the state government at 90:10 basis.

Same year, the hospital received Rs 47.25 crore as the first tranche of Rs 120 cr – 30 per cent of which was meant for the construction of the building and 70 per cent for the equipment.

Three years later, the SCI is yet to be fully functional with the Director SKIMS, Dr Omar Javaid, saying they still need until April.

“The Institute will have 120 beds for the departments like Medical Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Clinical Hematology and Pain and Palliative Care services,” Dr Javaid told The Kashmir Monitor.

At present, the RCC has 80 beds but it lacks a separate operation theatre and other facilities as a result of which, the patients are operated only twice a week.

The Centre, being the only such establishment in Kashmir, witnesses a rush of patients irrespective of age and gender.

Dr Lone attributes this surge in the disease to lifestyle changes, increased smoking, environmental factors and late diagnosis.

“We have adopted a sedentary lifestyle, food and work habits have undergone a lot of change, there is higher intake of fats and lesser physical activity,” said Dr Lone.

Moreover, he said, people are not diagnosed at an early stage.

“They come to the institute when the cancer has rooted in their body prominently.”