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Time to make cancer a notifiable disease: Experts

Health/medicine

Time to make cancer a notifiable disease: Experts

New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) Emphasising the critical challenges and the government’s concerted efforts to combat cancer, the experts on Saturday said that it’s time to make it a notifiable disease so that accurate incidence and effective follow-up can be assured.

Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Indrani Kaushal, said the government is seized of the enormity of the situation, citing the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study that has projected 15.33 lakh new cancer cases per year and a mortality rate of about 8 lakh per year.

She highlighted the issue while addressing the ‘Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) Roundtable for the Eastern Region’, held under the aegis of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Kaushal further mentioned that Odisha is among the top 12 states that have been contributing to the cancer incidence tally of the country.

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As per experts, 85 per cent of districts in the four Eastern states lack comprehensive cancer care centres. Only 20 per cent of cancer patients in India are able to access radiotherapy, which is an important treatment tool.

Raj Gore, co-lead of the FICCI Task Force on Cancer Care and CEO, Healthcare Global Enterprises Limited (HCG), highlighted the acute shortage of comprehensive cancer care centres in the country, with less than 30 per cent of districts in India having access to such facilities.

“Our task is cut out, and the magnitude of the problem is far greater than many realise,” stated Gore.

“Our focus should not only be on raising awareness and prevention but also on ensuring better patient outcomes through timely and complete treatment of patients,” he added.

In addition, the experts mentioned that prevention and awareness at the grassroots level need to be enhanced along with implementing teaching programmes for Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) and ensuring district hospitals are equipped with necessary diagnostic tools like endoscopes and HPV screening facilities.

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–IANS

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