Cancer deaths Increasing Rapidly; smoking, drinking & junk food main cause!

Hyderabad, Oct. 1 (NSS Special): Noting that the number of people afflicted with cancer and deaths due to it are increasing year by year in the country, the Rajya Sabha Standing Committee has stated that cancer treatment facilities are inadequate. The committee made some recommendations to tackle the situation. Every year, 14 lakh fresh cases of cancer are registered in the country, and the 50 government hospitals and the 200 private hospitals are quite insufficient to attend to the growing cancer cases, it observed.

The committee, in its latest report, stressed on the need to set up cancer registration centres in rural areas, as they existed in cities only at present. This should be done particularly in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, where the cancer cases are on the increase. When insurance claims related to cancer deaths was conducted, it was revealed that one in every five deaths are that of persons in the age group of 26 to 45 years, which means that even youngsters are becoming victims of this dreaded disease. Cancer treatment costs are three times higher in private hospitals, compared to government hospitals. Forty percent of people admitted for cancer treatment have sold away their properties or took loans for treatment, the committee pointed out and suggested that Banks should provide medical loans to the cancer patients. It also suggested that cancer screening tests should be conducted twice a week in primary health centres across the country.

Referring to Telangana, the committee stated that cancer speciality treatment is available only at MNJ hospital in government sector, and oncology department is there only in Kakatiya Medical college, and these are quite inadequate. It may be mentioned here that in Telangana, the number of cancer deaths increased from 24,788 in 2018, to 25,408 in 2019 and to 26,038 in 2020.

It is pertinent to point out in this context that the World Health Organization (WHO) has underlined the need for creating cancer awareness among the people, as the disease is spreading rapidly in the country. WHO stressed that people should change their lifestyle, avoid smoking and drinking and also unhealthy (junk) food, and they should do physical exercise for 30 minutes every day. Medical experts say that 33 per cent of cancer cases are due to smoking and drinking and another 33 per cent due to unhealthy food. (NSS)

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