Expressing concern over the increasing cases of cancer in the country, a team of oncologists and specialists addressed a letter to the state government and medical heads to launch Cancer Detection Cells in all the hospitals across the State to enable early diagnosis and treatment for cancer.
As much as 70 per cent of all the cancer cases detected in the country every year are in their advanced stages.
Speaking at a National Seminar on Management of Cancer held here on Sunday, Dr Sita Bhateja, president of the Indian Society of Health Administrators said that a large section of the population is diagnosed with various types of cancers at advanced stages as there are no cancer cells in hospitals that enable early diagnosis. “The government must open these cells so that people with the slightest symptoms can get themselves examined. This will save them from financial burdens that come with late treatment,” said Dr Bhateja.
Prevention and Early Detection for Effective Management, Dr Purvish M Parikh, a medical oncologist and hematologist from Mumbai said that qualified oncologists are unable to reach those who need treatment because there aren’t enough oncologists in the country. “A majority of the patients get treated only by non-oncologists,” he said.
Dr Parikh observed that preventive interventions against tobacco use must begin at secondary school levels. He called for attention to the lack of awareness about the basic self-examinations for breast cancer which is the only window to early diagnosis. “Cervical cancer incidence dropped in the early 90s with attention towards personal hygiene. But breast cancer is still not fully under control,” rued Dr Parikh.
Under the 12th Five Year Plan, the Government has decided to focus on the non-communicable diseases like hyper-tension, cancer, diabetes and stroke. “The government must create more infrastructure to treat cancer. There is also a proposal to create one cancer centre for every district and this would still mean that the country needs 100 more regional cancer centres in addition to the existing 26,” said a doctor who preferred anonymity. “But the goals to combat cancer under the 12th plan is still under debate,” he added.