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During that time. With the help and support of Dr. B.C. Roy, an eminent physician and the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, the foundation of the present day Chittaranjan Cancer Hospital (CCH) was laid. The hospital was formally inaugurated by Prof. Madam J. Curie in January 2, 1950 and named after Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, as a tribute to and in acknowledgement of the enormous donation of his land and property for the cause. Initially this was a cancer treatment centre, which gradually expanded its activities in basic and clinical research with the assistance from government funding organizations. This eventually led to the founding of the Chittaranjan National Cancer Research Centre (CNCRC), funded by the Government of India in 1957, which was committed to basic research on cancer. The Chittaranjan Cancer Hospital and Chittaranjan National Cancer Research Centre functioned as separate entities in adjacent buildings until their merger in 1987 and emergence of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) with the objective of serving as a premier Regional Cancer Center (RCC) for the Eastern Region of the Country. Over the years, CNCI had grown from a humble beginning and achieved reputation and accolades in varied face of cancer treatment and research. The new operation technique introduced by Dr. Subodh Mitra had become internationally accepted as ‘Mitra’s Operation’ and was practiced for surgical treatment of the uterine cervix. The surgical oncology department and the radiotherapy facilities of CCH were of a very high standard since its inception with many famous Oncologists contributing their share of expertise and knowledge. CNCI today has undergone major changes and improvement in the patient care and management facilities during the last five years with extensive reorganization and renovation of all the departments, wards, operation theatre complex and laboratories. The surgical oncology department today handles complex surgical procedures backed by a fresh team of surgeons, state-of-art equipments and supported by the Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) for critical patient care with modern equipments and round-the-clock laboratory back up. The number of specialists, junior doctors, nursing staff and technicians has been increased considerably to ensure better attention and treatment of cancer patients and their family. Special Clinics for Mastectomy, Laryngectomy, Pain are now available for patient care. A fully functioning Endoscopy OT handles the routine diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in endoscopy. The Blood Bank and Transfusion Department and the Diagnostic Laboratories now have modern updated and automated equipments, including facilities for Mammography, modern X – ray, Ultrasonography and a CT Scan (under installation). At present CNCI hospital is one of the best centres for radiotherapy with its two Cobalt Machines, computerized Treatment Planning System, modern Brachytherapy units which includes microselection HDR with Co source and also LDR with Caesium source, a fully Computerized Simulator and one Linear Accelerator.
Research activities at this institute had initially emphasized on the understanding of the biology of cancer particularly of the predominant types viz. oral cavity and uterine cervix and eminent researchers and scholars participating in these programmes, published and presented their work in leading international journals and at international meetings. The institute was and continues to be a centre of doctoral and postdoctoral training for young scientists. During the last five years research departments at CNCI have undergone reorganization of the infrastructure and programmes in basic and clinical research to include need-based contemporary as well as futuristic research areas. The current approach is based on a programme-oriented research in areas of new diagnostic methods, identification of risk factors and investigation of chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic agents from natural sources. Research groups on contemporary fields such as molecular carcinogenesis, gene therapy, receptor biology and signal transduction have also been established. A new central research instrumentation facility (CRIF) has been created in 1996 to provide centralized and upgraded technology for oncology research. The library has added its own literature search programmes through CD – ROM database.
The Preventive Oncology Division, the first of its kind in eastern India was set up at CNCI in 1995 with the goal of implementing primary prevention in keeping with the objective of the National Cancer Control Programme. The division has extended its activities to the districts of West Bengal and provides cancer education and awareness for the general masses in addition to its cancer screening and early detection programmes. Investigative studies have also been initiated to identify risk factors associated with the prevalent forms of cancer in this region for understanding their etiology and formulate remedial measures.
To facilitate collection of reliable and authentic information on the pattern of cancer incidence, CNCI has for the first time set up the Hospital and Population Based Cancer Registries with support from IARC, Lyon (WHO) and Government of West Bengal.
With its new approaches for program oriented preventive measures, diagnostics, treatment and research, as well the recent accomplishments through improved professional competence CNCI is all set to march ahead into the next millennium and fulfil its commitment as a Regional Cancer Centre. To understand the nature of the disease and provide better facilities for prevention and management of the disease has been and will remain its goal.