Cancer is on the rise, so is govt’s failure to tackle it

Srinagar: With government acknowledging the fact that there has been a surge in cancer cases in the state, the ways of tackling it, so far, have not proven fruitful, with govt’s cancer outreach programme standing as a colossal failure across the state.
Cancer outreach programme that was started several years ago in collaboration with SKIMS was abruptly discontinued without any apparent reasons, creating a dent in the programme that was meant to reach to the peripheries, sources informed.
Under Cancer outreach programme, the specialist from SKIMS used to carry out the outreach exercise, where in they used to work in collaboration with the doctors posted at those facilities.
Notably, the process, apart from providing treatment to the patients, was also inculcating the required training to the doctors who are posted in such peripheral hospitals and used to serve as a program with multiple outcomes.
Following this procedure, the patients living in peripheries were not in need to travel to Srinagar, as they were getting the treatment at their own respective places, however, the programme was stopped, sources informed.
During the current Assembly session, the Minister for Health and Medical Education admitted that there has been a rise in Cancer cases in the state, especially in Kashmir valley.
He said that the incidents of cancer were on the rise in the state, especially in the Valley, with 3,521 fresh cases being registered last year.
However, as per the government the highest number of 4,976 such cases was reported in 2016.
He further said that 3,075 cancer cases were reported in 2011, 3,288 in 2012, 3,157 in 2013, 3,940 in 2014, and 4,257 in 2015.
Currently, SKIMS Soura is the only hospital in Kashmir which has a fully functional cancer institute operational. However, the Institute is facing huge rush of patients. “The patients literally have to wait for months for their turn and get the required treatment,” said a medico.
Sources further informed that the state has also failed to institute three Tertiary Care Cancer Centers (TCCC) supported by Government of India’s Ministry of Health, under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).
Centres announced in 2013, each of these TCCCs had an estimated funding of around Rs 45 crore and were planned to come up in three districts-Udhampur, Kishtwar and Kupwara.
However, several years on, there has been no progress on these centres, depriving the patients of facilities that would have brought cancer diagnosis and treatment closer to them.
Sources further said that the delay was due to official callousness and that for two years, 2015 and 2016, no progress was made on the project. However, the officials are saying that that the proposal is “about to be completed and is in its final stages.”

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