Monday, 30th October 2017

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NRC anxiety hits cancer patients

The fear of losing nationality in the run-up to the publication of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is affecting cancer patients who avail of follow-up treatment at the Dr B. Borooah Cancer Institute (BCCI) here.

By Gaurav Das in Guwahati
  • Published 26.07.18
  •  

Guwahati: The fear of losing nationality in the run-up to the publication of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is affecting cancer patients who avail of follow-up treatment at the Dr B. Borooah Cancer Institute (BCCI) here.

Officials at the BBCI, the region's premier cancer institute, said they had observed a 20 per cent drop in flow of patients seeking long-term follow-up treatment for cancer, specifically from minority-dominated districts such as Dhubri, Morigaon, Barpeta and Goalpara, among others.

One official said when such patients are asked why they did not turn up on the dates scheduled for follow-up treatment, their common answer is they could not make it due to NRC-related work.

The NRC is being updated in Assam to solve the state's foreigners problem. Its second and final draft is scheduled to be published on Monday. The first was published on December 31, 2017.

BBCI superintendent Bibhuti Phukan Borthakur said, "The patients have to come on scheduled dates for follow-up treatment but we have been observing that some of them missed it. When we asked them about this, they said they were occupied with NRC-related work. We estimate a drop of about 20 per cent in the flow of patients seeking follow-up treatment and NRC is the probable reason."

BBCI, a central institute under the department of atomic energy, gets around 11,000 new patients annually along with 80,000 old patients seeking follow-up check-up, which includes their health status, signs of relapse and if they need treatment again.

"Getting enlisted in the updated NRC is like a life and death situation for some patients. So they are leaving no stone unturned to the get their names and that of their family members in the NRC. It seems they prefer missing their check-up dates to missing NRC-related work," said Amal Chandra Kataki, director of BBCI.

In 2011, there were 23,629 new cancer cases in Assam and, as per estimates, there could be 80,919 old and new cancer cases in the state by 2026, according to data collected from cancer registries and government reports on projected population of 2026.