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Alarming increase in cancer patients in Punjab


Patiala, October 17

The 30 per cent annual increase in the number of cancer patients has become a cause of worry for the health authorities and common people.

Head of the Cancer Care Centre at Rajindra Hospital, Dr Harjot Kaur Bagga said, “ The number of cancer cases mostly among women are increasing in Patiala are increasing. In 2008-09, there were 5268 cancer patients in the hospital for the treatment, out of which there were 2253 males and 3015 females. As far as the data for year 2010-11 goes, the numbers have already reached 4086 till the month of September with 1538 males and 2546 female patients undergoing treatment.”

The increase in numbers of cancer patients is being witnessed a cause as it can pose a potential threat for the coming generations. There is an urgent need to keep a check of cancer by launching awareness drives to increase awareness regarding the precautionary measures and the symptoms to watch out for.

Rajindra Hospital Cancer Centre is dealing with various therapies to diagnose and cure cancer including radiotherapy, brachytherapy, chemotherapy, cobalt 60 teletherapy etc.

Several patients continue to benefit out of the therapies available at the hospital


1,058 cancer patients in Mansa district: Survey

Mansa, December 6

Nearly 1,058 patients of cancer were found in Mansa by the heath department during a survey conducted recently.

As per the survey, nearly 695 cancer patients had died between 2001 and 2009. The deceased were suffering from various type of cancer including chest cancer, breast cancer, uterus cancer, mouth cancer and blood cancer.

During the survey, data from 2001 to 2009 was collected from all villages of this district. The Mansa city has not been included in the survey.

In Budhlada, out of 305 cancer patients, 228 had died between 2001 and 2009 while in Sardulgarh out of 438 patients, 279 had died during the period. As far as the Khiala block is concerned, 315 persons found suffering from the ailment and out of them 188 had died.

According to survey, some villages have large number of cancer patients as 18 in Nangal Kalan, 20 in Khiala, 17 in Gurne, 15 in Ralla, 17 in Bhadurpur, 14 in Renud, 15 in Chak Bhaike, 12 in Beeroke Kalan, 19 in Nandgarh, 13 in Kotdharmo and 17 in Sardulgarh.

Experts attributed contaminated ground water and excessive use of pesticides on cotton crops to the high incidences of cancer in Malwa.

Besides, some metals were also found in the ground water in Malwa region which is being considered as one of the reasons for the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, a NGO - Cancer Roko Organization- had held camps in Mansa to identify breast cancer among women. These camps were held under the "Nanhi Chaan" programme of Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

Famous playwright Ajmer Singh Aulakh who has been suffering from the disease said that government and Non Government Organisations, interested in serving the cancer patients, should provide treatment facilities in this region where poor could get treatment at cheaper rates.

Mansa Civil Surgeon Dr Pritpal Singh said that government was considering some proposals concerning treatment to cancer patients of this region.


Project on cancer research a non-starter

Ludhiana, February 3
The Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation has been unable to conduct a clinical study on people proclaiming to have suffered from cancer due to the injudicious use of pesticides/insecticides on crops, as the SAD-BJP government had shelved a project initiated during the Congress regime, revealed oncologist and foundation director Dr Satish Jain.

February 4 is observed as the World Cancer Day, but nothing concrete has been done in the name of awareness, detection and treatment of patients in the public health sector.

Dr Jain said keeping in view the growing incidence of cancer in the Malwa region, an expert committee of PAU scientists and cancer experts from the foundation was formed to conduct a clinical study on cancer patients followed by biochemical tests of the soil.

“A grant of Rs 1 crore has been sanctioned for the same so as to acquire machinery to undergo soil tests, but before the project could take off, the SAD government came into power and a new panel was formed that decided to rope in cancer experts from national institutes. However, nothing has been done so far,” rued Dr Jain.

He said the study and soil tests were the need of the hour to authenticate health hazards caused by the injudicious use of pesticides/insecticides on human health. However, pointing towards the constant increase in cancer cases in the Malwa region, the oncologist called upon the state government to take an initiative to arrange special cancer detection camps, which, he said had also been ignored by the Centre. He added that nothing was being done for cancer detection in national health programs.

The foundation has conducted a survey in villages around Bathinda district to organise cancer detection camps. “Two mobile cancer detection units will be made operational by June that will cater to the people in far-flung and remote areas of Bathinda and other districts,” Dr Jain said.

Cancer cases in state ‘below national average’

Ferozepur, September 16

The authorities have shown that the incidence of cancer in Punjab is much less than its national average in the data supplied to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Delhi.

The state authorities have shown that there are 10 to 40 persons per lakh, who have been found suffering from carcinogenic diseases in the state against the national average of 90 to 100 persons per lakh.

Stating this, GK Rath, Professor and Head, Department of Radiation and Oncology, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, and Chairman of the nine-member team sent by the ICMR to Punjab in connection with a cancer control programme, said data in connection with the incidence of cancer in Punjab had created confusion among them.

“On the one hand, everyone has been claiming that cancer has become rampant in Punjab, where agriculture is intensive and fertiliser and pesticides are used excessively. On the other, the data made available to us reflects that Punjab is in a much better state in the country as far as the incidence of cancer is concerned,” he pointed out.

“I think the data in connection with Punjab is incomplete and I expect that it will be rectified by the authorities so that our team could arrive at a concrete decision,” he said, adding that the basic purpose of the visit was to teach the doctors so that data in connection with the cancer cases could be documented in Punjab and arrangements made to detect cancer at an early stage.

A Nanda Kumar, deputy director-general, ICMR, Bengalaru, said the other purpose of the visit was to bring maximum areas of Punjab under the national cancer registry programme so that all patients could be indentified and treated.

The other members of the team are: SC Sharma, Vinod K Patno, (PGI, Chandigarh), K Chaudhary, Tanvir Kaur (ICMR, Delhi), Manoranjan (AIIMS) and Manjit Singh Bal from Government Medical College, Patiala. The team was accompanied by senior functionaries of the Punjab Health Department.

The team, which interacted with the people of rural and urban areas of the district, will visit Faridkot, Bathinda and Mansa districts besides other areas of the Malwa region, where cancer cases have been rising every year.

PK Jaiswar adds from Amritsar: Due to absence of authentic statistics available on cancer cases in Punjab with the health authorities, the ICMR has planned to initiate three projects to gather data.

Under these projects, population-based registration of cancer patients will be done at Government Medical College, Patiala, while the hospital-level registration of patients will be conducted at PGI, Chandigarh.

The team led by Dr Kishore Chaudhry, Deputy Director-General, ICMR, has said that cancer specialists, including pathologists and radiotherapists involved in treating cancer patients, will have to register themselves with the national website. They could upload the status and details of cancer patients in the performa concerned after downloading it from the website, said Dr Chaudhry.

He was leading the eight-member delegation of doctors that visited Amritsar on Thursday and interacted with the local health authorities regarding the prevalence of cancer cases in the region.

Central team to visit Bathinda today

Bathinda, September 16

A nine-member team of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, along with four officers from the State Health Department will visit Bathinda city tomorrow in connection with holding talks with the district health authorities and doctors to know about the causes behind the incidence of cancer in the district and resources to tackle the disease. The team will also review the cancer control programme in the district.

It is learnt that representatives of some non-government organisations (NGOs) will also meet the team to express their concern towards prevalence of the disease in the Bathinda belt and emphasise on the Central government to set up a cancer hospital in Bathinda so that cancer patients from this region could get themselves treated at cheap rates here instead of going to Bikaner in Rajasthan or big cities like Delhi, Chandigarh and Ludhiana for treatment.

Meanwhile, Umendra Dutt, executive director of Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM), urged the Punjab government to conduct a realistic survey in the state so that a true picture of the disease and the number of patients could come to the fore.

Dutt also asked the government to pay special attention towards the treatment of cancer patients of this region, especially poor, because majority of them were unable to get proper treatment as the cost of medication was beyond their reach.

He said high prevalence of cancer in majority of the districts of the Malwa region, including Bathinda and Mansa, was a matter of concern. If the government did not take a timely action in this direction, then the number of cancer patients would increase manifold in the years to come, Dutt cautioned.

ICMR team for scientific survey of cancer patients

Regarding the presence of excessive heavy metals in the river waters and groundwater in the state that is said to be behind the cancer disease, Dr Rath said this was merely a suspicion so far as it was yet to be investigated scientifically. The incidence of genetic cause of cancer disease was not more than five per cent in the country, he added.

Dr Rath, who visited the city today along with members of his team and officers of the Punjab Health Department under the cancer control programme of the ICMR, said they were here to sensitise the doctors on how a survey of cancer patients should be conducted in a correct manner to bring the proper data on record.

The in charge of the Cancer Control Cell, Punjab, Dr Rakesh Kumar, and the Bathinda Civil Surgeon, Dr Inder Dayal Goyal, were among those who were present at the meeting.

Dr Manjit Singh Bal, Professor and Head, Department of Pathology, Government Medical College, Patiala, and a member of the team said the available data about cancer patients in the state was not proper, so the state needed to get proper data. At the meeting, the team was also provided a survey report, conducted by the health staff in Bathinda district in November/December 2009 with regard to cancer patients living or dead from 2001 to 2009. According to the survey report, more women were affected from the disease as compared to men in the district. A total of 2,733 persons (1,643 women and 1,090 men) were affected from the disease during nine years. Among the women, breast cancer and uterus was found more prevalent as compared to other parts of the body, while in the men the cancer of the gastrointestinal tract and blood was found more frequent as compared to other organs of the body.

Govt must carry out cancer census: PPCC

Ferozepur, September 17

Taking a serious view of the presentation of the “incorrect data” connected with the number of cancer patients in Punjab by the authorities to the Central Government agencies, the PPCC has urged the SAD-BJP combine to carry out a time-bound cancer census in the state to determine the true extent of the problem.

“What has caused concern to the Congress is that under a conspiracy, the authorities have been showing that Punjab has a lesser number of cancer patients than the prevailing national average,” said Parminder Singh, media in charge, PPCC.
He said a team of the ICMR, which visited Ferozepur yesterday, also “questioned” the intention of the state government in dealing with cancer as the head of the team, GK Rath, claimed that data supplied to them was incomplete and hence confusing.

He said the PPCC was of the view that the Badal government had manipulated the data of cancer patients deliberately to 
stop the Central Government from setting up a hospital in Punjab so that private players could be allowed to set up shop to fleece poor patients.

Though the SAD-BJP combine had facilitated two private companies to set up cancer hospitals in Bathinda and Mohali by claiming that cancer had acquired alarming dimensions in Punjab, its 
agencies were claiming that the number of cancer patients were below the national average.

“Badal should make a statement on the issue to clarify that who have manipulated the data and why,” said Parminder Singh, adding that a delegation of the PPCC would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a request to make arrangements for setting up a cancer hospital in the Malwa region of Punjab.


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