While 3,000 registrations were expected during the first day of a mega cancer screening camp held at Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital, only 750 suspected cases were registered on Saturday.
The lower registration has raised a question over the results of the month-long mass cancer survey-cum-awareness campaign in January this year, which had found 6,936 suspected patients in Patiala.
Of these, , nearly 1,100 people were detected positive for various types of cancer in the second phase of survey, while the remaining cases were to be screened during two-day screening camps.
For Saturday's camp, inaugurated by deputy commissioner GK Singh, the district health department had assigned auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM), Asha workers and other medical staff to bring suspected patients from their respective blocks, and oncologists from a private cancer care hospital were deputed to examine them.
However, health department officials said most of the suspected cases found during the survey had approached other hospitals for screening on their own in the past eight months.
"The government took several months after completion of the survey to organise the screening camp. Had it been serious about getting patients diagnosed and treated, it would have organised the camp much earlier," a senior doctor said.
"As the project was delayed due to the lazy attitude of the authorities, the worried suspected patients approached other doctors instead of waiting for government camps to be organised," an ANM from Smana block said on the condition of anonymity.
Started with much enthusiasm in November 2012, the cancer survey, aimed at collecting data to provide adequate treatment, has progressed at snail's pace due to delay in the first and second phases.
However, not accepting the low turnout, chief medical officer Varinder Singh Mohi claimed the field staff had done a "commendable job by bringing the maximum number of patients from their respective blocks."
He said people had come forward to avail free clinical laboratory and examination facilities during the camp.
"A heavy rush is expected tomorrow as senior medical officers of various civil hospitals have been directed to bring suspected cases," he added.
Pandemonium prevailed at the hospital early in the morning after a large number of patients turned up for the camp at the same time and surrounded the registration desk and the rooms of the specialists.
700 registered in Sangrur district
Low turnout was also witnessed in Sangrur district where only 700 cases were registered during the camp, while nearly 7,749 suspected cases came were detected in the survey.
368 examined in Fatehgarh Sahib
As many as 368 patients were examined and tests conducted at the civil hospital here on Saturday under the two-day mass cancer screening and treatment campaign, launched by state health department. Civil surgeon Dr Neelam Bhardwaj inagurated the camp and said 168 cancer patients from the district have received financial assistance of `1.70 crore under the Chief Minister Cancer Relief Fund.
Patiala survey results
Suspected cases 6,936
Positive cases 1,100
Confirmed cases 1,513
Cancer patients who died in the past five years 1,498