The Government Saturday said that various measures are being taken for detection and treatment of cancer within the state in view of the growing number of patients suffering from the disease.Replying to a Calling Attention Notice by Legislator Ali Mohammad Sagar on the issue, the Minister for Health & Medical Education, Bali Baghat said that every effort is also being made by the Government to help the needy cancer patients living below poverty line as they are being provided free consultation and anti-cancer drugs on subsidized rates.He said the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) at SKIMS Soura has been given the status of State Cancer Institute (SCI) for which state-of-the art equipment has been purchased and Oncology Specialties are being upgraded. He said recently the PET-CT Scan, which can detect cancer cells metastasis, was installed at SKIMS and so far 20 procedures have been conducted. He further informed that installation of Linear Accelerator at estimated cost of Rs 15.50 crore including civil works is under progress in the Radiation Oncology Department of SMHS Hospital Srinagar which shall be made functional by June this year.
In Jammu, he said, the process for establishing a Cancer Institute and Nuclear Medicine Department in the GMC Jammu has been also initiated.The Minister further informed the house that Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has sanctioned 2 Cancer Institutes at the cost of Rs 120 crore each in the year 2014-15 at SKIMS Soura and Government Medical College Jammu. “Besides this 3 Tertiary Cancer Care Centres (TCCC) at a cost of Rs 45 crore each for Udhampur, Kishtwar and Kupwara has also been approved by Government of India,” he added.The Minister expressed concern over the rising trend in the incidence of Cancer in the state especially in Kashmir valley and revealed that 26214 cases have been reported since 2011.He said smoking and use of other Tobacco products has been found as the major cause for rising prevalence of cancer. “Poor personal hygiene, unsanitary living conditions and low immunity is related with few cancers like cancer of cervix while the consumption of adulterated food, fruits and vegetables laden with pesticides and environmental pollution are also major risk factors,” he added.
He said the breast and colon cancer are increasing due to change in lifestyle, first child birth at late age; obesity, consumption of fatty diet low in fibre, increased consumption of red meat and sedentary life style. He said steps are being taken to educate public, counsel patients and attendants who come to hospital for treatment. He said awareness is also being spread through print, electronic and social media about the preventive measures.While giving details about the measures being taken by the government to tackle the situation, the Minister said Radiotherapy treatment is given free of cost as per Government Policy while Poor patients falling under Rs 20,000 and less per month income group are given financial assistance under Cancer Treatment Management Fund.