This train is conducting cancer surgeries, treating patients in India's hinterlands

The ‘Lifeline Express’ will run across the country to extend cancer care in remote parts

Making a history of sorts, a cancer surgery was performed on a train ‘Lifeline Express’ parked at Satna Junction in Madhya Pradesh. On December 22, a 52-year-old tea vendor Hiralal Lodhi consulted oncosurgeons for advanced mouth cancer on this train and two days later, he was the first patient to have been operated on the train.

The train is a joint initiative of Tata Memorial Hospital, Ministry of Railways and NGO Impact India. It will run across the country to extend cancer care in remote parts.

A resident of Pipari Kala village in Madhya Pradesh, Lodhi has a vast expanse of farmlands but earns merely Rs 700 every month from a roadside tea stall.

For over six months, he had been suffering from a cancerous growth which expanded from being a tiny boil to a lump on his jawline. However, he had no money for his treatment. When he got to know about the train, he travelled to Satna to get the treatment.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck surgeon at Tata Hospital in Mumbai said that two new coaches have been added to the train for “intense interventive cancer operations”.

The train has been running for over 25 years treating passengers. It has conducted cleft lip surgeries, cataract operations along with holding routine camps in remote villages. But its cancer care coaches were launched on December 8 by Union Health Minister JP Nadda.

Five cancer surgeries have been conducted in the new coaches since December 24. For now, there is an operation table in the center and a metal table for instruments. 450 surgeries have been conducted at Satna junction for various ailments.

The train will travel to Warangal in Telangana in January, and to Palamu district, Jharkhand, in February. The train will focus on providing breast, oral and cervical cancer treatment for India’s rural population.