CUTTACK: The State Government’s efforts to take cancer care to the doorsteps of people in remote rural areas is set for huge boost with cancer units well on way to become functional in five districts from April.
The training of doctors and nurses in chemotherapy administration, providing basic treatment to cancer patients and dealing with side-effects under the tutelage of senior oncologist and founder of Madhya Pradesh Cancer Control Programme Dr Dinesh Y Pendharkar will go underway in March.
One doctor and two nurses each have been selected from the districts of Mayurbhanj, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Angul and Bargarh to take the specially designed training programme at Faridabad and Ujjain respectively. Dr Pendarkar and his team from Madhya Pradesh attended a sensitisation programme for the selected doctors and nurses at Acharya Harihar regional cancer centre (AHRCC) here, which has been designated the nodal centre for district cancer programme in the State.
Talking to doctors and health officials, Dr Pendarkar threw light on the huge impact of MP Cancer Control Programme in ensuring access to comprehensive cancer care for people at the farthest mile in the State. More than 3,000 patients had been treated in 51 district cancer units over two years and not a single case of chemotherapy related adverse incidents or complications has been reported. The major success, however, has been the stupendous increase in compliance levels among patients.
“In two years, there was a tremendous improvement in total chemotherapy compliance among patients with over 90 per cent receiving full cycle. This was possible as the district care units not only provided the services to patients in their own regions but also the doctors were at hand in case of some adverse effects,” Dr Pendarkar said.
According to State nodal officer Dr PKB Patnaik, Odisha too suffers from very high chemotherapy drop out rate which is to the tune of more than 90 per cent. The major factors is distance as chemotherapy is administered at tertiary care hospitals like AHRCC, MKCGMCH, Berhampur, VSSMCH, Burla and some private hospitals concentrated in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
“Majority of the patients are dependent on Government hospitals as they cannot afford high costs in private set-ups. For chemotherapy, they have to travel long distances, which imposes additional problems like finding attendants and accommodation. Further, for any post-chemotherapy adverse effects, they suffer problems in contacting doctors,” Dr Patnaik explained.
The district cancer units will not only ensure easy access to treatment but also have trained doctors who, under the guidance of AHRCC’s medical oncologists, can respond to chemotherapy-related issues immediately. This will enhance confidence among patients and translate into better compliance rates.
Besides, the cancer units will also be gradually empowered to provide palliative care for the terminally ill as well as other support services, Dr Patnaik added.