Guwahati, March 13: Dispur will provide free treatment to underprivileged children aged below 12 years who are suffering from blood cancer.
This was announced by Assam health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the Assembly today while replying to a question by AGP MLA Keshab Mahanta.
Sarma said if any such children require specialised treatment outside the state, then the government will extend a financial assistance up to Rs 10 lakh. He said the proposed cancer institute of the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, which is currently under construction, will be inaugurated on November 14.
The minister said though he was not aware of the exact causes for rise in the number of child patients suffering from blood cancer in the state, genetic causes, exposure to environmental pollutant toxins, exposure to radiation and benzene-containing drugs and change in lifestyle and diet are some of the reasons believed to be responsible for it.
Sarma said according to the records of B. Borooah Cancer Institute, the total number of cancer patients in the state stands at 4,443, which includes 2,597 male and 1,846 female patients.
He also gave a district-wise break-up of cancer patients in the state. According to these figures, Kamrup district has 986 cancer patients, the highest in the state, followed by Nagaon and Barpeta districts with 483 and 333 cancer patients respectively.
Dima Hasao district and three Barak Valley districts — Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi — have the lowest number of cancer patients in the state. According to government figures tabled by the minister in the House today, Dima Hasao has five cancer patients, Hailakandi nine, Karimganj 24 and Cachar 29.
Sarma said facilities for diagnosis of cancer available at various medical colleges and hospitals in the state are biopsy, fine needle aspiration cytology, PAP smear, cancer bio-marker detection, haematology, X-ray, ultrasonography, CT scan, MRI and mammography. He said the bill to ban sales, display, storage or manufacture of all smokeless tobacco products would be tabled in the ongoing budget session of the Assembly.
The minister said after the bill is passed in the Assembly, “the next logical step would be to ban all kinds of tobacco products” in the state.
He said today the bill has been sent to chief minister Tarun Gogoi for approval, after which it will be presented before the state cabinet for its nod before tabling it in the Assembly. The minister was hopeful that the number of cases of oral cancer in the state would come down by 70 per cent after this legislation comes into effect. He said efforts are on to increase the total number of seats in the GMCH from 150 to 250.