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Home News and Update Year 2010 Soon, Cancer Treatment Will Become Affordable

Soon, Cancer Treatment Will Become Affordable

DNA India
28 September 2010
By Priyanka Golikeri
Mumbai, India

For cancer patients and their families, some good news is on the cards. An attempt is being made by cancer doctors to make treatment more affordable in Mumbai.

The Asian Institute of Oncology (AIO), a group of over 50 cancer specialists, is planning to make cancer treatment – primarily surgery, medicines, and radiotherapy affordable and accessible to patients.

Dr Dhairyasheel N Savant, reconstructive surgeon, and a member of AIO, says the effort is to reduce the prices of surgeries and medicines as far as possible. "Most cancer surgeries cost above a lakh. Our attempt is to reduce that to below a lakh."

He also says AIO will try and source medicines at rates much lower that the MRP.

"We can reduce prices of surgeries by reducing the surgical charges and physician charges without compromising on the quality of the treatment and care," says Savant.

The third aspect of this initiative is to provide radiotherapy at an affordable price.

"A radiotherapy machine costs about Rs22 crore. If we can get volumes, it can drive down the costs," says Savant.

AIO, which predominantly consists of doctors from Tata Memorial Hospital, would provide the concession to any patient whose paying capacity cannot exceed a certain limit.

Cancer treatment is extensive and hence the costs keep increasing with time, says Dr Dinesh Pendharkar, senior consultant, medical oncology and haemato–oncology, and an AIO member. "It may be affordable for a particular patient at the beginning, but as time progresses, it may become unaffordable. There is no set criteria on the basis of socio–economic factors which will determine who can avail of the concessions," says Pendharkar.

Savant says about 60–80 patients have till now availed of this initiative.

Currently, this scheme is available at the SL Raheja Hospital in Mahim, from where AIO as a group operates.

Dr Uma Nambiar, CEO, SL Raheja Hospital, says, "We feel we have the wherewithal to take up this kind of an initiative. There are limited good cancer treatment facilities available and the disease is spreading at an alarming rate. Getting more volumes would help in further subsidising."

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