Guwahati: The Centre has provided Rs 129 crore for setting up centre for management of Paediatric and Adult Haematolymphoid Cancers at Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati.

A statement released by the Ministry of Development of North-East Region on Friday said in the last 11 years, 3,855 childhood and adult haematolymphoid cancer patients reported to BBCI for treatment. “Moreover, due to dearth of adequate facilities other than the BBCI in the north-east, there may be many more patients who need this specialised care but do not get it close to home and must travel to other centres across the country,” the statement said.

The ministry said once a dedicated paediatric oncology block is established, approximately 1,000 patients annually can be offered treatment for this group of ailments, which will significantly reduce the patient expenditure and benefit the people of the North-Eastern Region immensely.

The Union Budget 2022-23 included a new scheme Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North-East (PM-DevINE) to be implemented through the North-Eastern Council, Ministry of Development of the North-Eastern Region. The objective of the new scheme is to fund infrastructure, in the spirit of PM GatiShakti, as well as support social development projects conceptualised based on felt needs of the North-East.

For the year 2022-23, an initial allocation of Rs 1,500 crore was made for PM-DevINE for setting up a centre for management of Paediatric and Adult Haematolymphoid Cancers at BBCI Guwahati .

The population-based cancer registry of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reveals that cancer in India is highest in the North-Eastern Region. The national average incidence of cancer every year varies from 90-120 per lakh population, whereas in the North-eastern Region it is as high as 220-270 per lakh population. As per the ICMR report, more than 45,000 new cancer patients are detected in the North-eastern Region each year.

“The BBCI has the state-of-the-art facility for treatment of common cancers. However, statistics show that treatment facilities are still limited in the region. As per the ICMR report, 95% of patients from Sikkim, 58% from Nagaland, 16% from Manipur, 13% from Meghalaya go out of the North-Eastern Region for cancer treatment. Moreover, some cancers like paediatric and adult haematolymphoid (blood cancers) malignancies are among the curable cancers and, if treated optimally, patients can survive to live a long and fruitful life,” the statement said.

It said the expertise to treat these cancers are restricted to some specialised centres in the country, one of which is Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai. “Establishment of a dedicated paediatric oncology block in the NE region will generate human resources and expertise to take care of these cancers,” the ministry said.

Today, as many as 14,000 new and 2,00,000 old patients with cancer visit the BBCI every year for diagnosis, treatment, and check-up.

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