In a boost to cancer care in the city, the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH) will soon commission a Linear Accelerator for precise radiation therapy and set up a 15-bed special Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for cancer.

The Union government has sanctioned Rs. 4.8 crore under the tertiary cancer care project for the linear accelerator.

The linear accelerator was hitherto only available at the Arignar Anna Memorial Cancer Institute and Hospital at Kancheepuram, said doctors.

“The State government has allotted Rs. 1.2 crore for constructing a building for installing the equipment. We have identified a space within the GH premises for the purpose. A workshop was housed there and nearly half the work to shift the workshop has been completed. The plan for the building construction is ready,” GH Dean V. Kanagasabai said.

Minimising damage

Shanmuga Kumar, head of department, Radiation Oncology, said the linear accelerator will help in minimising the damage to normal tissues when the tumours are being treated through radiation therapy. “We have been utilising Cobalt Therapy till now. With the linear accelerator, radiation can target the tumours in a more precise manner, minimising damage to normal tissues,” he said.

Head and neck cancers, gynaecological cancers, gastro-intestinal cancers and genito-urinal cancers can be treated, Dr. Kumar said.

In addition, the hospital has placed an order with the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation for procuring High Dose Rate Brachytherapy equipment at a cost of Rs. 1 crore, he said. “The department had generated Rs. 2 crore under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme. We are utilising half of it for the equipment. This will enable us to target the radio source directly into the tumour,” he explained.

Cancer ICU

Dr. Kanagasabai said there are 231 beds for various ICUs at the hospital including for poly trauma, orthopaedics, medical emergencies, poison, surgical, cardiology, neurology and geriatrics.

“Now, we will add 15 beds to the ICUs. This will be a special air-conditioned ICU for cancer which will consist of ventilators, cardiac care, multi-para monitors, pulse oxymeters and central oxygen supply. The ward is getting ready,” he said.

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