HYDERABAD: Several patients with tumours are neglecting their condition owing to the fear of contracting COVID-19, resulting in the worsening of their condition.
According to Hyderabad-based doctors, patients with brain tumours and tumours in their spine are skipping operations, scans and check-ups, leading to operable tumours growing double the size and turning inoperable and expensive to treat.
In one such case at KIMS, Hyderabad, a 69-year-old male who required surgery for a brain tumour and dialysis for his kidney damage delayed the surgery scheduled in March by a month. By then, the tumour grew double its size. The patient was even diagnosed with COVID at the check-up, leading to the surgery becoming risky. The patient eventually passed away with the complications.
"Patients must not ignore tumours as they may grow during the waiting phase. The pandemic is here to stay and if the patient contracts COVID-19 also, it will increase the costs by three to four times due to the consumable needed to operate. It is best for patients to follow the doctor’s guidelines and seek timely help," said Dr Manas Panigrahi, senior consultant neurosurgeon, KIMS Hospital.
The cost of brain surgery in a COVID-19 operation theatre along with charges of a Covid ICU ward has increased to Rs 12 lakh from Rs 3-4 lakh. "Brain tumours are of Grade 1, 2, 3, and 4. Grade 3 and 4 tumours grow rapidly and if these people get COVID-19, the tumour growth will not stop until the Covid-19 is controlled. They may die because of either of the problems. Patients must not wait even for a week in case their tumours turn Grade 3 or 4," added Dr Panigrahi.
Meanwhile, in the government-run Osmania General Hospital, while there is no marked difference in OP visits for neurology cases, the fear and stigma around contracting COVID-19 is present. "The entrance to Neurology OP and Covid-19 Isolation is same, leading to fear among patients. We have requested to move the isolation ward from OGH to avoid the fear to other patients," said a doctor from OGH.