Raipur: The sole regional cancer centre in Chhattisgarh is grappling with a shortage of critical equipment essential for screenings and internal radiation, as they have reached the end of their operational life. This scarcity has resulted in cancer patients being forced to seek check-ups at private hospitals.
Dr Vivek Chaudhary, the director of regional cancer center, Raipur and a medical oncologist, told TOI that among the major machines reaching the end of their life span is the CT simulator, crucial for determining the exact location, size, and shape of tumours. This vital apparatus, installed in 2004, has been unavailable for a year now. Similarly, the Brachytherapy machine, used for internal radiation therapy, has also been out of commission for a year, having been installed in the same year.
Moreover, the PET-CT (Positron emission tomography) machine, which provides insight into active particle spaces, and the Gamma Camera, used for comprehensive body scans including the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, and stomach, have been in demand since 2019. However, due to hefty costs, the administration has been unable to allocate budgetary resources for their procurement.
The Cobalt machine, instrumental in radiation procedures, is anticipated to cease functioning in three months.
With an average of 500 patients visiting the regional centre daily, the equipment shortage has led to a decline in follow-up appointments, compelling many patients to opt for private hospitals, and incurring substantial expenses.
Lakhan Yadav, an attendant of a patient hailing from Sarguja, recounted to TOI the ordeal of his wife’s battle with second-stage breast cancer. Initially denied screening at the regional cancer centre due to equipment unavailability, they were forced to opt for a private hospital, depleting their savings. Yadav emphasized the financial strain this situation imposes, particularly on economically disadvantaged individuals.
Dr Tripti Nagariya, Dean of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Medical College, informed TOI that the tender process for procuring new equipment is underway. Once acquired by the CGTMSE, the equipment will be promptly installed at the institution.