Hope at last
Cancer is a severe ailment that is affecting people worldwide. The disease is so dreadful that even in developed nations people do not find any short term cure that can provide some respite to the suffering patients.
Not only is the treatment schedule cumbersome but it also takes a heavy toll on the finaces of the affected population. That being one of the prime reasons that the disease is still considered dreadful and stressing at the same time.
However, one hope has been seen on the horizon as an anti-cancer jab that can cut down treatment time for some by three quarters has been rolled out by National Health Service (NHS) in England.
The jab takes as little as 7 minutes to administer, NHS England said adding that it will be the first health system in the world to roll out the seven-minute injection to hundreds of NHS cancer patients each year.
The vaccine has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). MHRA is a UK state agency responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work and are acceptably safe.
Currently, the patients receive the life-extending immunotherapy atezolizumab in hospital directly into their veins via a drug transfusion (intravenously), which can take from 30 minutes to up to an hour to administer. This anti-cancer jab, a subcutaneous or under-the-skin injection, is swifter and is expected to enhance the patients’ experience.
The healthcare system of England anticipates the majority of the approximately 3,600 patients starting their annual atezolizumab treatment in England to switch onto the time-saving injection.
Atezolizumab is an immunotherapy drug, currently offered by transfusion, that empowers a patient’s own immune system to seek and destroy cancerous cells. The drug is administered to NHS patients with a range of cancers, including lung, breast, liver and bladder.
The innovation on the treatment though will take lot of time to be made available in a place like Kashmir but one thing is for sure that the discovery of the drug and its use in patients has generated some positive hope.
Presently, the number of cancer patients is on the rise in Jammu and Kashmir and it was recently reported that around 6,000 patients have been registered at the Department of Radiation Oncology, SMHS Hospital Srinagar since 2017.
Besides, around one thousand cases of various cancers have been registered this year alone at the department and officials said that number is likely to reach around 2,000 by the year end, KNO quoting medical records reported on Monday.
The details made available suggested that 491 new cancer patients were registered at the radiation oncology department, SMHS in year 2017; 1,032 in 2018, 801 in 2019, 650 in 2020, 1,010 in 2021, 1,169 in 2022 and 953 in 2023 till date.
The increase in the number of patients affected by cancer is sure to witness an upward trend and the efforts to make available the best treatment for these patients needs to be taken up seriously and the availability of latest medicines in this regard can surely provide a huge relief for several thousand families here as well.