Improve cancer treatment facilities, say experts

Staff Reporter

Uniform treatment protocol sought

Call to establish network of expert doctors

Kozhikode: The recovery percentage of childhood cancer in the State can be improved drastically if better coordination between various divisions of treatment is made possible and the basic treatment facilities of individual centres improved, experts have said.

They were speaking at a seminar on the topic organised by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in association with the Caring for Childhood Cancer and Chronic Illness (C4CCI) at the IMA Hall here on Sunday.

Jame Abraham, chief of Hematology/Oncology department, West Virginia University, said the recovery percentage of childhood cancer in Western countries were well above 90 per cent, while it was only 30 per cent in India. “This is a dramatic improvement (in the West) in a short span of time, thanks to continuous research and advancement in the treatment front in the developed countries,” Dr. Abraham said.

He pointed out that the State can do a lot better if the present enthusiasm shown by committed doctors and organisations continued in the right direction.

Several of the other participants including Kusuma Kumari, Professor and Head of paediatric oncology division, Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram and Jagadeesh Ramdas, Janet Weis Children’s Hospital/Geisinger Medical Centre, the U.S., maintained that with all its sound credentials in the health front, Kerala can achieve a tremendous improvement in the recovery percentage of childhood cancer within a short span of time if a concerted effort was made.

Building up of a network between expert doctors, paediatricians and child oncologists and formulating a unified treatment protocol were suggested as steps to improve the percentage of recovery.

The participating experts also said the improvement in the basic cancer treatment facilities at government hospitals had to happen immediately across the State. “Only then the patients from the low socio-economic segment can benefit from the advancements in technology,” said Sureshkumar, director, Pain and Palliative Care Society, Kozhikode.

Ensuring the availability of trained doctors and nurses exclusively for cancer treatment was also proposed.

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