Images News Netwok

Availability of only one PET-CT scan machine puts Kashmir’s cancer patients at great disadvantage

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Srinagar: Despite the increasing number of cancer cases in Kashmir Valley, a severe shortage of PET-CT scan machines here puts patients at a life-threatening disadvantage, and their families to severe mental trauma!

With only one such machine available at SKIMS Soura, patients at GMC Srinagar and elsewhere face several challenges in accessing timely and accurate cancer diagnostics.

GMC Srinagar, where around 7,000 new cancer cases were registered, is functioning without a PET Scan machine that is used for the detection of cancer and the evaluation of its treatment.

Oncologists informed that in the modern-day practice of oncology, PET-CT has emerged as a game-changer in the management of cancer — but the valley has just one such machine!

Dr Shabnam, an oncologist, said there is just one PET Scan machine available at SKIMS Soura while there is a need for many more such machines across the valley.

Dr Aijaz, another oncologist, said PET Scan is vital in the initial diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, prognosis, surveillance, and relapse throughout the course of the disease.

PET-CT is an acronym for Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography, which is nuclear medicine equipment that houses a PET scanner and a CT scanner to acquire multiple sequential views for creating 3D images of the body. This modality provides a hybrid image formed by the fusion of the functional image of PET and the anatomical image of CT.

Doctors say that there is an immediate need for such a facility at GMC Srinagar as cancer cases in Kashmir are on the rise and such patients have no options other than to visit SKIMS Soura, which is already overburdened, and in fact overwhelmed by the patient rush.

They said patients have to wait for a long time for their turn for a scan, which isn’t easy for such patients – indeed sometimes this delay in getting the scan done proves very costly for the patients — with fatal consequences.

The medical experts said the majority of the patients cannot afford to visit private clinics or outside the Valley, which delays their diagnosis and treatment; timely treatment is often the only guarantee for its success and patients’ survival.

“It will be in the interest of the community as well as for better healthcare facilities if the PET Scan facility will be made available at SMHS Hospital and elsewhere as well.”

As per available data, around 45,000 new cancer cases have been registered at SKIMS Soura since 2013, while around 7,000 cancer cases have been registered at GMC Srinagar since 2017.

According to the Union Health Ministry data, 51,577 cases of cancer were reported in J&K in the last four years (2019-2022) with 12,396 in 2019, 12,726 cases in 2020, 13,060 cases in 2021, and 13,395 cases in 2022.

A total of 35,623 people in J&K died of cancer between the years 2018 and 2022  — that is 6824 cancer patients were reported to have died in 2018; in 2019 some 7003 deaths were reported; 7189 deaths were reported in 2020;  and 7211 patients died in 2021; while there were 7396 cancer fatalities in 2022.

In a 2012 study by the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura attributed the rising cancer incidence to “dietary practices and lifestyle choices” as well as the intake of foods with high salt content. (With inputs from KNO)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *