Cancer patient recovery rates drop due to medicine shortage

September 20, 2022

Senior Professor of the Ragama Medical Faculty, Dr Chrishantha Abeysena, says recovery rates of cancer patients in Sri Lanka have dropped by 10 per cent as radiotherapy treatments are not being carried out in a systematic manner.

Abeysena, an executive member of the National People’s Power said the shortage of radiotherapy machines has resulted in a waiting list for treatment for up to three months. “For some patients, this is the only treatment they get,” he said.

According to him, the death rates of cancer patients are also increasing due to medical equipment and drug shortage. “Abroad the recovery rate with radiotherapy is 45 per cent while in Sri Lanka it's 10 per cent,” he said.

The doctor also said the world over a more advanced machine is used to treat cancer but only two of those machines exist in Sri Lanka. “Medicine and equipment shortages are common in hospitals across the country and not only at the Apeksha Hospital,” he said.

Failing to obtain radiotherapy, a patient will have to turn to medicine, the doctor added that however, the cost would be extremely high.

“Some cancer patients have to be treated continuously for a year or more. The shortage of medicines and equipment is severe. Due to this, the death rate is also increasing.” Abeysena said.