GUWAHATI, April 27 - Despite the high number of cancer cases in Assam and other northeastern States, treatment facilities in the region continue to be scarce.
The States of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh presently do not have any cancer treatment facility. As per WHO assessment, one tele-therapy machine is required per 10 lakh population, which translates into a requirement of 45 machines for the entire northeastern region, which has a combined population of 4,57,72,188 as per 2011 census.
�At present, there are only 15 tele-therapy machines in the region, out of which Assam alone accounts for nine. For the 3.1 crore population of Assam, at least 30 such machines are necessary,� Dr AC Kataki, Director of Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), told The Assam Tribune.
The high incidence of cancer in the North East can be gauged from the fact that about 10,566 patients reported to the BBCI in the year 2014-15.
In view of the acute shortage of trained doctors and paramedical staff in the field of oncology in the North East, the BBCI, in collaboration with Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, has introduced a two-year Post Graduate Oncology Fellowship in Head & Neck Oncology, General Surgical Oncology, Medical Oncology, Gynaecologic Oncology and Onco-Patholoy from this year.
�It is hoped that these courses will fulfil the manpower requirement of the northeastern region. The BBCI will render all possible help to the northeastern States for capacity development in oncology,� Dr Kataki added.
Many oncology centres would come up in the northeastern States in the coming few years and those academic programmes would provide job opportunity to young aspirants in the field of oncology, he said.
Terming the high incidence of cancer in Assam and other northeastern States as a cause for concern, Dr Kataki said that an estimated 36,221 new cancer cases are detected every year in the northeastern States.