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Cancer registry makes an offer hospitals can’t refuse

To provide custom-made software for parting with patient information

INFORMATION on cancer patients may be available at the click of a mouse if the ambitious plan of the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP) gets through.

The registry has come up with a proposal to source the data from private hospitals and oncologists by providing them with a custom-made software for the purpose, free of cost.

According to officials from the NCRP, India accounts for 50 per cent of the new cases. However, only 15 per cent of the data comes to the registry even from the best of hospitals. 

The registry has roped in Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, one of the regional population and hospital-based registry centres to involve private cancer institutes and oncologists in its mission. 

The hospitals would receive NCRP-created software through which not only the registry but also the hospitals could benefit in analysing the disease pattern in their hospitals, said NCRP project officer Dr A Nandakumar. 

NCRP was established by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 1982 to understand the incidence and pattern of diseases in India and accordingly create policies to control and prevent the disease.

Widened reach
“Almost 80 per cent of the cancer cases were coming to Kidwai Hospital when the registry began in Bangalore. The registration process was relatively simple. But this has dropped to 25 per cent now, indicating that the patients are distributed and taking treatment in other centres,” he said. 

The data collaborated by the registry from across the country enables the registry to predict and identify the cancer trends in different regions and hospitals.  However, this requires that all centres unanimously provide accurate and complete information. 

Kidwai Hospital director Dr Vijay Kumar felt that the State should pass legislation on making cancer a notifiable disease.  He said that many private hospitals refused to part with information for the population registry. 

Echoing the complaint, Dr K Ramchandra Reddy, who heads the hospital’s registries, noted that while the population had tripled, the number of cancer institutes in the City had gone up to 460 from 68. 

The field staff – six assistant social scientists given by ICMR to the hospital have not been increased. This made it difficult for them to collect population-based data from all the institutes.

(Published in Deccan Herald on 30th August, 2011)

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