Rising population, unhealthy lifestyle, pollution and tobacco use is fuelling cancer epidemic in the country. The number of cancer patients is growing at a rate of 1.2% each year, shows population Based Cancer Registry data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
There are 28 lakh people with cancer at all times. Cancer is the fourth-largest killer after heart disease, respiratory diseases and childhood diarrhoea.
Aroung 10 lakh (one million) people develop cancer in India each year, with the disease projected to rise five-fold - 2.8 times because of tobacco use and 2.2 due to ageing - by 2025.
"Under the new comprehensive National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases & Stroke for the remaining two years of the 11th Five Year Plan, focus will be on prevention through behaviour and lifestyle changes," minister of health Ghulam Nabi Azad told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
"We plan to fight the epidemic by building capacity at various levels of healthcare for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of common NCDs; train human resource and establish and develop capacity for palliative & rehabilitative care. Under the programme diagnostic services, basic surgery, chemotherapy and palliative care to cancer patients at 100 districts across 21 states are being provided," the health minister said.
Over 70% cancer cases are detected in too advanced for the treatment to be effective. To fight this, the Centre is also helping states to set up labs to detect cancer in early stage.
A strong plea for bringing anti-cancer drugs under the price control order was made by a CPI(M) member in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Member PK Biju said there had been huge variations in the prices of anti-cancer drugs manufactured by the multinationals and Indian companies.