SMHS’s Lone Mammography Machine Is Down, Patients Suffer

by Masrat Nabi

SRINAGAR: The only Mammography Machine at premier Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital has developed a snag, rendering it defunct causing inconvenience to hundreds of patients. Mammography plays a critical role in the early detection of breast cancer.

This is a very rare machine and extremely helpful in the early detection of breast cancer, which is the most prevalent. It is used as both a diagnostic and screening tool.

Patients who need mammography are being referred to private clinics and hospitals where rates are much higher than government hospitals. Diagnostic costs in healthcare is not covered by the golden card, within and outside government hospitals. However, the rates for this test are much lower than in the private sector.

The inability of the hospital authorities to use the mammography machine has hit women patients as it is crucial for the detection of breast cancer.

“The machines should have been made functional. This reveals how serious the government is towards patient care. We are suffering. How can poor patients afford private clinics,” said Ruqiya Farooq.

While talking to Medical Superintendent Dr Muzaffar Zargar he said that the mammography machines would be repaired soon.

In Kashmir, breast cancer is the second major cancer after upper GI malignancies. Tragically, Kashmir experiences a higher death rate of breast cancer patients apparently because of delayed detection. Researchers believe the high mortality rate of breast cancer patients in Kashmir can be attributed to its socio-cultural structure.

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