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Last Updated: Oct 11, 2012 - 10:22:56 PM
India Healthcare Channel

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Azad hikes funds for cancer control, treatment of poor

Nov 1, 2009 - 6:55:03 PM
Stressing the importance of awareness in fighting cancer in women, the minister chided the medical fraternity for lacking in efforts to promote cancer awareness among women and to advise timely screening.

[RxPG] Mumbai, Nov 1 - Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Sunday announced enhanced funding for the cancer control programme, a fund for treatment of poor cancer patients and more emphasis on study of the disease.

Addressing the Annual Breast and Gynaecological Cancer Conference at Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital - here, the minister said the allocation for the National Cancer Control Programme in the 11th Five Year Plan will be increased ten times - to Rs.2,400 crore.

The centre is also setting up OncoNET India, a network of 27 regional cancer centres and 100 peripheral centres to provide telemedicine services and medical education, he added.

Admitting that cancer has emerged as one of the major diseases in view of increasing life expectancy and changing lifestyle patterns, Azad said that the government has established a Health Minister's Cancer Patient Fund with a seed money of Rs.100 crore for the benefit of people in the below poverty line - category.

Through the fund, a BPL cancer patient can get up to Rs.100,000 assistance at any government facility on the recommendation of the hospital, besides similar assistance made available under Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi for cancer treatment.

Azad urged doctors of TMCH to avail this facility for the treatment of BPL cancer patients.

He assured the doctors that he would take up the issue of increasing cancer-related content at the MBBS course level. He also said that the government would take the initiative in equipping various hospitals at the state and district level with the low cost Bhabhtron machine developed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre -.

Expressing concern at the delay in diagnosing cancer, which results in high costs and low utilisation of curative services, Azad said nearly two-thirds of the cancers were being diagnosed at the advanced level.

'At least one-third of all cancers can be prevented, another one-third can be detected in time and treated. Of the remaining one-third cases, palliative and supportive care is the only option. Of all the cancers, around 30-40 percent are related to tobacco consumption which can be prevented,' he said.

Stressing the importance of awareness in fighting cancer in women, the minister chided the medical fraternity for lacking in efforts to promote cancer awareness among women and to advise timely screening.

On the occasion, Azad launched a cancer Mobile Screening Van by the Women Cancer Initiative and TMCH which would provide health education, screening and prevention of cancer to nearly 500,000 slum dwellers in north-east suburbs of Mumbai.

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