Iman Hossain with his mother Ramena Khatun on Thursday.
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Kolkata: Doctors at a private hospital in Kolkata have successfully performed extracorporeal radiotherapy on two cancer afflicted patients wherein the affected bone was taken out of the body for high-intensity radiotherapy and re-implanted post-treatment.

This, they claim, is the first instance of extracorporeal radiotherapy in any hospital in entire eastern India. The two patients who underwent the procedure are ~ Iman Hossain (13) of Tripura and Jiban Krishna Bhattacharya of North 24-Parganas.

Hossain was brought to the Narayana Superspeciality Hospital at Howrah in November last year with swelling and severe pain in his right hand. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, in the forearm.

Instead of going for amputation or external beam radiation, doctors at the hospital decided to try extracorporeal radiotherapy on the boy in an effort to see that his right hand becomes fully functional after the treatment.

“External beam radiation would have had side effects like limb stiffness and jeopardised his hand functions. Hence, we opted for extracorporeal radiotherapy. The 8-hour long surgery included taking out the affected bone, giving radiation at 50 Gy for about 20-25 minutes and re-implanting it back,” explained Koushik Nandy, an ortho-oncologist at the hospital.

Hossain, who was discharged after a week, is now receiving chemotherapy in his home state. “I can now move my right hand without a trouble,” he told reporters in Kolkata today. His poor parents had to spend around Rs 9-lakh on the surgery and related treatment.

“We borrowed Rs 4-lakh from a bank, managed Rs 2-lakh by selling homestead land, and the remaining amount was collected by seeking donations from people known to us in Tripura,” said Ramena Khatun, mother of Hossain.

In the case of Jiban Krishna Bhattacharya (49), he was suffering from chondrosarcoma of the right pelvic bone. He was made to undergo extracorporeal radiotherapy of the pelvic bone in the similar process as Hossain and the curated pelvis bone was re-implanted.

“I underwent the procedure this January and now I am fully fit barring that for another few months I shall have to walk with the support of a walker,” Bhattacharya said.

Akshay Oleti, facility director at Narayana Superspeciality Hospital said that since it was the first time that extracorporeal radiotherapy was performed in their facility, the cost was a little higher.

“But if more such cases come to us, the cost will go down at least 10 per cent. As regards, Tripura, we have just been empaneled in the Tripura Health Assurance Services for the Poor. This means Tripura government will now bear the entire cost of treatment of such patients at our Howrah unit.”