The finest cancer therapy will soon be available at affordable rates at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI) here. The institute is set to become one of the few hospitals in the country to have the High-Energy Linear Accelerator, a radiotherapy machine that can destroy cancerous tumors by emitting high-energy X-rays.
To be installed at a cost of Rs 26 crore, the machine will be operational by next year, it is learnt. "We are getting advanced equipment," PGI director Dr YK Chawla told HT. "The linear accelerator is not only more precise in targeting the tumor, but also makes sure that healthy tissues are not destroyed," said Dr Rakesh Kapoor, additional professor, PGI department of radiotherapy.
The order has been placed, and the seller is building a bunker in which the machine would be placed.
Easy on the pocket
The machine is available at some private hospitals in Delhi and other centers - in fact, Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is also in process of getting the same machine -- but the treatment in the private sector costs from Rs 3 lakh to 4.5 lakh.
"At the PGI, the same treatment will be available at rates much lower than that," said Dr Kapoor. Though the final cost will be decided by the institute's Standing Finance Committee, sources told HT that it would be less than Rs 10,000.
"Except in Delhi, the facility is not available anywhere in northern India. It will bring new hope for the people of this region as the facility will be within the common man's reach for the first time," said Dr Kapoor.
The PGI was designated as a Regional Cancer Centre in 2005 under the National Cancer Control Programme. Officials said the plan is to strengthen the cancer care facilities by adding 90 beds, which would be part of an upcoming 250-bed new complex. At present, the institute has just 23 beds for cancer patients.
High Energy Linear Accelerator in layman's terms
*The linear accelerator is used to treat all parts/organs of the body
*It delivers high-energy x-rays to the region of the patient's tumor.
*These x-ray treatments can be designed in such a way that they destroy
the cancer cells, while sparing the surrounding normal tissue.
"The machine will have the facility of image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and stereotactic radio therapy (STRT), and volumetric modulated beach therapy (VMAT)," said Dr Rakesh Kapoor, additional professor, PGI department of radiotherapy
Expanse and Expense
*5,000: New cancer patients at the PGI every year
* 50,000: Patients who visit PGI for follow-up treatment every year
*Rs3-4.5 lakh: Cost of advanced radiotherapy in pvt sector
*R10,000: What advanced radiotherapy would cost at the PGI
(all figures approximate)