After the neighbouring state of Punjab, the deadly cancer disease is spreading its roots in Haryana, with around 3,200 cancer deaths being reported in the state every year.
The number of cancer patients coming to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS), Rohtak is also on the rise.
Though officials in the state health department failed to provide the exact number of cancer patients in the state, they disclosed that around 3,200 cancer deaths were reported in the state annually.
The number of cancer patients visiting the PGIMS Rohtak, Haryana’s premiere medical institute, shows an increasing trend. While in 2011, the number of cancer patients at the PGIMS Rohtak was recorded as 32,310, it rose to 35,180 in 2013.
Though the office of the medical superintendent of the PGIMS does not have exact number of cancer patients who visited the institute in 2014, they claim that as per tentative figures, it was around 36,400.
Breast cancer also on the rise
The number of patients of breast cancer is also showing an increasing trend. The number of such patients jumped to around 2,250 in 2013 from 1,941 in 2011.
The PGIMS officials said that the percentage of cancer patients who were fully cured was below 5%.
When the issue was raised with the officials concerned, a top-level officer of the Haryana health department complained of lack of infrastructure, hospitals and doctors for cancer patients.
Shortage of staff, cancer specialist hospitals
“There is a shortage of staff, infrastructure and cancer specialist hospitals in the state. Therefore, a large number of patients have to go to Chandigarh and Delhi for treatment,” he said on the condition of anonymity.
He said that Haryana health minister Anil Vij had written to Union health minister JP Nadda, urging him to order a survey by a team of specialist doctors to find out the reasons behind the increasing number of cancer cases in the state. Vij had also directed the civil surgeons in the state to keep a close watch on the situation and maintain the record of the patients.
When contacted, PGIMS medical superintendent Ashok Chauhan, who is also in-charge of Unit 2 of the regional cancer centre of the PGIMS, said, “The number of cancer patients is certainly on the rise.”
Asked about the reasons, he said that people were nowadays quite aware about this deadly disease and they visit hospital soon after they develop symptoms.
About the extent of treatment, he said, “The cases of 100% treatment are very few, but 95% of the patients live 5 to 10 years more if they get proper treatment on time”. Chauhan said that breast cancer was a major problem among women while throat cancer is very common among male patients.
Private cancer hospitals opening centres instate
As the state does not have special institutes for cancer treatment, owners of private cancer hospitals are opening centers in the state, especially in Rohtak region.
The Delhi-based Action Cancer Hospital has launched cancer health check-up camps and cancer awareness programme in Haryana and the hospital is organising a series of events comprising continuing medical education and camps in various district centers like Sirsa, Hisar, Jhajjar, Panipat, Sonepat, Jind and Rohtak.
Dr DP Saraswat, CEO of Action Cancer Hospital, said, “We have started health check-up camps in Haryana to reach out to the sufferer directly.”
He added, “In order to support our cancer awareness programme and health check-up programmes we will organise more check-up camps in future also.”