- Cancer scanning PET-CT machines set up in BSMMU and DMC
- Public hospital offers PET-CT tests at Tk20,000-Tk25,000
- Cost is Tk55,000 in private hospital
- Largest and first government cyclotron machine set up at BSMMU
Cancer treatment in the country will become affordable in the coming days after the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) on Sunday set up the country's first and largest cyclotron machine and two Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) machines.
The cyclotron machine, which will produce radioisotopes, and a PET-CT machine were installed at the National Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (NINMAS) in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) campus premises.
Another PET-CT machine was installed at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
Science and Technology Minister Architect Yafesh Osman inaugurated the facilities.
"With this infrastructural development, the general people of the country will largely be benefited in getting advanced cancer treatment," said Yafesh Osman.
He also said that this service will gradually be brought to other government hospitals.
The infrastructure was set up under a project titled "PET-CT Installation with Cyclotron Facility".
At the inauguration ceremony, BAEC Chairman Prof Dr Md Sanowar Hossain said that the cost of cancer treatment will decrease due to the development.
"Earlier, patients had to spend a huge amount of money for cancer treatment as the radioisotope had to be purchased from a private hospital. But now, we are supplying radioisotope to public and private hospitals at a very low cost," he said.
Dr Nurul Islam, project director, said cancer could now be detected at the government hospital for a cost between Tk20,000-Tk25,000, instead of Tk50,000, which was charged by private hospitals.
Dr Shamim Momtaz Ferdousi Begum, director and head of the PET-CT Division of NINMAS, said the introduction of the new medical equipment, procured through government funding, cancer treatment in Bangladesh will get a significant boost.
The PET-CT is being used for diagnosing 90% of cancer diseases. In Bangladesh, however, only United Hospital had both scanning and radioisotope producing infrastructure with a limited capacity.
Medinova and Evervare have the PET-CT scanning machine, but not the isotope machine.
Cancer treatment in private hospitals and in foreign countries can be very costly.
According to the Globocan 2020 data, almost 1.56 lakh new cancer patients are diagnosed in Bangladesh each year and 1.08 lakh people die from cancer.