images (1)All eyes are on Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) as the premier healthcare institute of the state is set to add a top-notch cancer care facility to provide the best cure at the lowest cost. 

The institute has recently acquired a hi-tech linear accelerator from the United Kingdom to fill the vacuum in low-cost radiotherapy. 

According to estimates, the state needs at least 35 radiotherapy units. At present, there are just 11. 

Superintendent of GMCH, R Talukdar, said, “The process of setting up the cancer unit is progressing well.” 

A source said the linear accelerator, which is the mainstay of any cancer hospital as it provides radiotherapy, has to be tested and commissioned for operation. Before that, the government has to appoint a qualified radiotherapist as it is a mandatory prerequisite for the Atomic Energy Commission to grant permission for commissioning the machine. 

The source pointed out that 80% of cancer patients in the state are poor and cannot afford the high cost of radiotherapy at private hospitals, which usually runs beyond a lakh. 

“The cost is expected to be reduced to Rs 10,000 if GMCH comes up with the facility,” the source said. Hundreds of poor cancer patients stop treatment for lack of money. 

“At the oncology department of GMCH, only diagnosis can be done. Chemotherapy can also be given with the help of hematologists. With the radiotherapy facility coming up soon, the state’s cancer treatment scene is set to improve drastically,” the source said. 

The cancer hospital will have 200 beds and three departments – medical oncology, surgical oncology and radiation oncology. Medical oncology mainly deals with the treatment of cancer with drugs. Surgical oncology mainly deals with cancer of the breast, bone, uterus and kidney. Radiation oncology refers to treatment through radiotherapy. 

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