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COVID-19 restrictions delay cancer treatment in State: BBCI

Cancer treatment has been delayed and interrupted in the State due to imposition of COVID-19 restrictions, a development raising serious concern amidst the pandemic.

BBCI

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  7 July 2021 1:35 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: Cancer treatment has been delayed and interrupted in the State due to imposition of COVID-19 restrictions, a development raising serious concern amidst the pandemic.

A survey conducted by the BBCI (Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute) has found that while many people have delayed their diagnosis, treatment of thousands of patients have been delayed and interrupted even after cancer was detected in them.

The survey was conducted to see the impact of COVID-19 pandemic among cancer patients. A total of 122 respondents voluntarily participated in the survey.

Of the respondents, 72 (59%) were men and 50 (42%) were women. The age of cancer patients in the survey ranged from 2 years to 79 years.

It was noted that, 17 (13.9%) respondents felt that their or kin's cancer diagnosis was delayed due to the ongoing restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of all respondents, 31 (25.4%) and 26 (21.3%) respondents felt that their or kin's cancer treatment was delayed and interrupted, respectively due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

BBCI Director Dr Amal Chandra Kataki said that the institute has been providing uninterrupted treatment and care to cancer patients during both the first and second wave of COVID-19 waves.

"For a brief period in May, 2020, we stopped registration of new patients, as the BBCI's residential quarter was declared as a containment zone. Even during that brief period, we could muster enough support staff staying outside the institute's residential campus to maintain the ongoing treatment of patients who were already registered.

"To provide succour to cancer patients during the full lockdown last year, doctors of the institute provided tele-consultation to over 5,000 cancer patients. Cancer treatment must not be halted or interrupted by patients or their attendants in anticipation of catching COVID-19 while coming for the same," Dr. Kataki said.

BBCI Medical Officer Dr Manigreeva Krishnatreya said that in Assam, 30,000 cancer patients are diagnosed every year. "If we extrapolate the findings of this survey, more than 4,000 cancer patients in the state may have delayed their diagnosis. Furthermore, it is distressing to note that treatment of around 6,000 to 7,500 cancer patients have been delayed or interrupted due the COVID-19 pandemic," added Dr Krishnatreya.

Also Read: Majority of children with cancer recover from COVID without developing complications


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