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Cancer deaths on the rise: Azad

Guwahati, Dec. 17:Death from cancer is on the rise in the Northeast.

“The estimated deaths because of cancer in 2011, 2012 and 2013 are 15,996, 16,198, 16,409 respectively,” Union health and family welfare minister Gulam Nabi Azad told the Rajya Sabha today in response to a query from senior MP and Assam PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita.

Azad’s response was based on cancer registries under the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Sources in Guwahati said Assam has the highest number of patients with cancer of the oesophagus, pharynx (or throat), larynx and gallbladder in the country.

Kamrup (metro) district tops the list in the country followed by Dibrugarh and Cachar.

Kamrup (metro) has 14.8 females in per lakh population suffering from oesophagus cancer. Breast cancer is also on the rise, the registries said.

Responding to a related query by Kalita on whether the Centre was planning to establish a national-level cancer institute or upgrade B. Borooah Cancer Institute here, Azad said Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in Calcutta also caters to patients from the Northeast, especially those referred by B. Borooah Cancer Institute, RIMS, Imphal and Agartala Civil Hospital.

According to Azad, the steps taken to enhance the medical facilities to fight cancer in the country included strengthening of tertiary care cancer facilities under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke which helps in setting up or strengthening state cancer institutes and tertiary care cancer centres.

The Centre and states will share the cost of setting up a state cancer institute or a tertiary care cancer centre on 90:10 basis in case of the northeastern states.

“Financial assistance upto Rs 120 crore and Rs 45 crore will be provided for each state centre and tertiary centre respectively,” Azad said.

In what could be a major breakthrough under the national programme, interventions for prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has been brought under the National Rural Health Mission from this year, he said.

“The state governments have been advised to submit their project implementation plans under this programme,” Azad said.