In a move to provide major relief to cancer patients, the state government on Saturday proposed to develop five cancer treatment centres in five regions — Konkan, Pune, Nashik, Marathwada and Vidarbha. It has also proposed to introduce mammography machines and other equipment at 253 government hospitals for early detection of cancer and upgrade the Marathwada Cancer Centre at Aurangabad to a state-level cancer institute. Further, it will spend Rs 559 crore for development of government medical colleges across the state.
These announcements were made by finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar while presenting the state budget for 2017-18.
“We have decided to upgrade the Marathwada Cancer Centre to a state-level cancer institute. The government will provide Rs126 crore. The government has also decided to develop good-quality cancer treatment centres in another five regions,” Mungantiwar said.
The move assumes significance as most cancer patients in the state come to the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) situated in Mumbai. The development of cancer centres in different cities will help in reducing the number of admissions there, the experts said.
Dr Sripad Banavali, head of medical and paediatric oncology at Tata Memorial Hospital, welcomed the decision terming it ‘extremely positive’. “The urban areas have good cancer hospitals and the government had to concentrate on second-tier cities,” Dr Banavali said.
He added that most patients from these areas do not come to TMH, when the disease is at an early stage owing to financial and logistical problems. “If we catch a ‘curable cancer’ at an advanced stage, not much can be done. That’s the reason the mortality rates are high,” he pointed out.
Mungantiwar also said that the government has decided to introduce mammography machines and other related medical equipment at 253 government hospitals across the state and will provide Rs43 crore for this purpose.
“Breast, uterus and oral cancers are the most common form of cancers. Early detection and treatment will lead to improvement in 75% cases and reduce cancer fatalities. Mammography and other such equipment will help for the same,” he said.
The state government also wants to upgrade its medical colleges and hospitals attached to them. For this purpose, it has decided to make available Rs559 crore from the budget, Mungantiwar announced.
Dr Deepak Sawant, state health minister, said the Marathwada Cancer Centre will now be having every facility that we need to treat a cancer patient that includes chemotherapy etc. “So far, Marathwada does not have any such cancer treatment centre and patients had to come to Mumbai for treatment. With the move, the situation will be changed,” Dr Sawant told HT.
(With inputs from Aayushi Pratap)