A Palestinian child is seen in Al-Rantisi Pediatric Hospital, in Gaza City, July 28, 2019. When standing in front of a huge green building in Gaza, you will be stunned by the pain on the faces of cancer patients crowded there. The building, known as Al-Rantisi Pediatric Hospital, is the only hospital in the Gaza Strip that provides treatment for the cancer patients, whose suffering is multiplied by shortage of equipment, drugs, and medical supplies as a result of the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip for more than 13 years. (Str/Xinhua) TO GO WITH "Feature: Cancer patients in Gaza suffer painful treatment journey" (Str/Xinhua)
GAZA, July 30 (Xinhua) -- When standing in front of a huge green building in Gaza, you will be stunned by the pain on the faces of cancer patients crowded there.
The building, known as Al-Rantisi Pediatric Hospital, is the only hospital in the Gaza Strip that provides treatment for the cancer patients, whose suffering is multiplied by shortage of equipment, drugs, and medical supplies as a result of the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip for more than 13 years.
Inside the hospital, more than 8,515 cancer patients are getting their treatment. In the past two years, they usually have to wait for weeks or even months before they can take the chemotherapy.
During the tough treatment process, dozens of patients died, while others are still waiting for their unknown fate, medics said.
When a cancer patient finishes the chemotherapy medications, he or she needs to carry on with radiotherapy, the most difficult part in the treatment, said medics, adding that because there is no radiotherapy treatment in Gaza, all cases are referred to hospitals in other cities.
Abed Alsalam Alastal, 12, is one of those patients who has to travel to Israel for his radiotherapy. His health is getting worse because of the lack of the medical treatment in Gaza's hospital and the slow travel procedures to Israel.
He hopes to return to his house peacefully and continue his life like other healthy people.
"I am annoyed ... and I want to return to my home and play with my friends," Alastal begged his father.
Alastal's parents were shocked when the doctor told them that their son got a lymphoma.
"I am racing against time to save my child, but the tough living conditions in Gaza prevented me," Ahemd Alsatal, father of nine children told Xinhua, adding that "we are suffering from complicated and slow procedures to receive proper medical treatment."
The doctors expressed that the cancer diseases will not kill the patients if the medical supply is available in Gaza, or if Israel allows the cancer patients to cross the Erez border.
After being diagnosed with cancer, the patients in Gaza may often have to wait for months before being able to receive treatment.
Getting a permit to access the health care outside Gaza can be a stressful and unpredictable process, and many patients have to apply multiple times before being able to exit.
Khalil Albasyouni, a five-year-old child, has been denied several times by the Israeli authorities to pass the border.
Albasyouni, who also suffers from lymphoma, has stayed at the hospital for nine months and got his chemotherapy in Gaza, but lately his treatment has been stopped because of the crisis hits health department in Gaza, his grandmother said.
"When your child is diagnosed with cancer, it is a painful psychological and physical battle for the entire family," Samiha Albasyouni, 63, told Xinhua. "The tough living conditions that we suffer from increase our worries."
"I do not know the reason why I was denied to enter Israel. I am an elder woman and Khalil is a little boy," she said, adding that "if Khalil continues to stay here, I am afraid that he will die like other patients."
Samah Awad, 45, suffers from colon cancer. She used to come into the hospital four times a month to get her chemotherapy.
After two months, she has been still waiting her radiotherapy but her medical referral was rejected.
"The cancer will not kill me, but the politics will," she said.
Israel has imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007, which affected negatively all sides of living conditions in Gaza.
"The radiotherapy is not available here at all," said Khaled Thabet, head of Oncology Department at Al-Rantisi hospital.
Thabet added the number of cancer patients is significantly increasing compared with the previous 10 years.
He regarded rapid demographic changes, the excessive use of insecticides and chemical remnants of wars as three reasons behind the significant increase in the number of cancer patients in Gaza.