World Cancer Day on February 4th
Jamshedpur, February 3rd: Cancer is a dreaded diagnosis. For most patients, it sounds like a death sentence. No longer. In the last decade, the medical community has made tremendous strides in its treatment, and most cancers have a definitive cure if caught and treated early.
For a long time there was a gap in Jamshedpur for the comprehensive treatment of cancer. Most patients had to travel on subways to get treatment, which was not only cumbersome but expensive and drained their resources.
MTMH, a cancer hospital in Jamshedpur, was established in 1975 to care for cancer patients. Over the years, the increasing number of cancer patients and advances in cancer treatment made clear the need for expansion and modernization of the hospital. In 2017, Tata Trusts approved a project to upgrade MTMH from a 72-bed cancer hospital to a 128-bed comprehensive cancer care facility.
The foundation stone for this project was laid on 02.02nd March 2018 by Ratan Tata. Within a year, a new extension was built on the TMH campus, which is connected to the MTMH by a skybridge. The two buildings together house a comprehensive cancer care facility, including a multi-consultant OPD, medical oncology, neutropenia and radiation therapy wards, a day care chemotherapy ward and the Pritpal Palliative Care Center (funded by the Suri Foundation). The number of beds increased from 72 to 128, with 40 beds dedicated to day care chemotherapy, a short hospital stay that patients have long requested.
In addition, a state-of-the-art True Beam radiotherapy machine greatly enhanced the center’s ability to treat patients with the most advanced and precise radiotherapy available. The brachytherapy equipment used for intracavitary irradiation was also replaced.
A PET-CT machine was installed. This is the first of its kind in Jharkhand and is an important diagnostic arm enabling early detection and recurrence of cancer.
Pathology has been improved, with immunohistochemistry and PCR for precise diagnosis. A new Hospital Management System (HMS) serves as the IT backbone of the services.
Another first for Jharkhand happened when the Suri Sewa Foundation funded palliative care unit Pritpal was inaugurated by Ruchi Narendran on February 15, 2020. The state-of-the-art 8-bed palliative care unit has a specialized team of doctors, nurses and medical social workers. It addresses the specific needs of patients requiring palliative care. Coping with symptoms, helping families, knowing how to care for loved ones at home, being with families during the journey of illness is part of the services offered by the Pritpal Palliative Care Unit. It is an accredited center for certificate courses in Essentials of Palliative Care from the Indian Association of Palliative Care.
MTMH’s new facility caters to Ayushman Bharat patients and various government relief patients, as well as corporate and general patients. The effect of modernization is reflected in the increasing number of patients benefiting from it in Jamshedpur. Despite the pandemic, around 26,000 patients visited the MTMH OPD in 2021, including around 3,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients. There were 10,000 entries. Around 1100 patients were irradiated and 1900 patients underwent PET-CT. MTMH kept its doors open throughout the pandemic lest cancer care suffer.
Through its service, MTMH hopes to achieve the goal for cancer care set by Ratan Tata: No cancer patient should be forced to leave their state to seek cancer treatment.