Cancer treatment to reach new heights in Kandy

By Udumbara Udugama

The project to build a new cancer treatment centre for Kandy was launched on November 26 at the Kandyan Cultural Centre, with the blessings of the clergy based in the Central Province. First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa also graced the occasion.

Kandy Hospital Development Committee Chairman Mohan Samarakoon, speaking to the Sunday Times said the medical staff attached to the Cancer Unit of the Kandy Hospital had requested the Hospital Development Committee to construct a Cancer Unit with better facilities. The cancer unit established four decades ago has only 84 beds for the two male and female wards.

The Unit serves over 4000 new patients every year providing surgery, radiation and chemo treatment. Facilities such as operating theatre, X-ray and scanning machines are shared with other wards and units. A large number of outpatients too use these facilities. This causes a delay in detection and lack of immediate medical treatment that can be fatal to a cancer patient.

Moreover, the medical facilities at the Kandy Hospital are used by patients from six of the nine provinces in Sri Lanka, who travel from distant places for specialized treatment. Bearing this in mind, the Hospital Committee decided to launch this ambitious project and are hoping to make it a community project with the assistance of the public.

The committee comprises many who are experienced in community development - Dr. Samad Ismail, A.O.R Fernando and the Medical Advisory Committee members Dr. W.G.A. Dissanayeke, Dr. C.S.M. Gunatilaka, Dr. A.J. Hilmi, Dr. L. Obeysekara, Dr. S.J.B. Alagoda and Dr. M. Udukala.

The construction cost of the proposed new unit, a 10-storey building with modern facilities is estimated at Rs.640 million. It will be a comprehensive cancer treatment centre within the premises of the Kandy General Hospital. It will have state-of-the-art equipment and facilities - Linear Accelerator and Brachy Therapy machines, chemotherapy, Radioactive Iodine, a Leukaeamia Treatment Facility, Onco Surgery, Paediatric Oncology and Gyno oncology.

The unit will have four outpatient clinics and 350 in-patient hospital beds through male, female and paediatric wards. At present, patients who need a particular type of treatment are directed to the National Cancer Institute Maharagama, as Kandy is unable to treat them due to the unavailability of certain equipment.

Although the government will provide some funding for the new Cancer Unit, the major contribution is expected from private donors, making it a private-public partnership venture. Mr. Samarakoon stated that the business community and some families in Kandy have already pledged their support and appeals to the public for assistance to make this venture a success and to complete it in three years.

Further information can be obtained through their website Donations could be sent to – Hospital Committee-Cancer Fund Kandy- Account No. 8730022111, Commercial Bank, Peradeniya Branch and Account No. 72127286, at the Bank of Ceylon, Kandy Branch.

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