Even as the health officials have completed the first phase of door-to-door cancer survey campaign 20 days ago in Sangrur and Barnala districts, the all-important second phase, under which suspected patients are to be examined and diagnosed accordingly, is yet to kick off.
The survey report has come up with alarming figures in Sangrur district after around 7,749 suspected cases of cancer have come to fore on the basis of 12 symptoms of the disease. In Barnala, 1,091 suspected cases were detected.
If senior officials in state department are to be believed, delay in start of survey's second phase is caused mainly due to delay in completion of first phase that dealt with identifying total numbers of cancer deaths, confirmed cases and suspected cases of cancer disease in the past five years.
The health department was supposed to complete the survey, which started from December 1, by December 31, but the survey was actually completed after January 20 as the health department released analysed and recorded figures on January 28.
The survey in both Sangrur and Barnala district was completed by January 10.
The delay in the second phase has left the suspected cancer patients and their families worried.
Health department officials and government medical inatitutions are flooded with calls from different place enquiring about start of the second phase.
"The field staff told me about my wife being a suspected case of breast cancer around one month ago and asked me to visit nearest hospital when told. But till date nobody has approached me to tell what to do next," said Bachitar Singh, a resident of Barnala city.
Another patient Parvinder Singh from Moonak block said he had called civil hospital many times but did not get any proper response from the authorities.
In the second phase, Asha workers or auxiliary midwives will take suspected persons to the nearest hospital in their respective areas for initial check up and if needed, the person will be sent to civil hospitals and then to district hospitals where specialist doctors will closely examine suspected cases.
Dr Mohinder Singh, nodal officer of cancer survey, said two-day training for specialist doctors has been postponed and will start from February 9 onwards at Baba Farid Medical College at Faridkot. "Though we have passed on instructions to all senior medical officers to direct ANMs and Asha workers to start second phase at grass roots level but it will gather pace only after training of specialist doctors," he said.
On the other hand, Dr Surender Singla, district health officer, Sangrur, said the training programme of specialist doctors was underway at Government Rajindra Medical College and would end on February 8. "Field staff will be informed about the second phase after conclusion of training programme of specialist doctors," Dr Singla said.