Though several major health institutes in Punjab and in other parts of the country have admitted to the fact that cancer cases have been on the continuous rise in the state, yet experts at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have failed to specify the reason and pattern of the disease in the state.
At the 29th annual review meeting of the National Cancer Registry Programme, organised by the population-based cancer registry (PBCR) and the Punjab cancer atlas project of the ICMR at the government medical college here, secretary to the government of India, department of health research and director general of the ICMR VM Katoch said that no uniform and specific reasons for different patterns of cancer in Punjab has been known so far.
He said, "The pattern and reasons can be known only after adequate data is recorded and researched upon and no solid preventative steps can be taken till the reasons are found out."
According to the Punjab government statistics, over 33,318 deaths due to cancer occurred in the state in five years. The state government is also groping in the dark as to how to effectively control the disease in the absence of the knowledge about the reasons for its spread.
Dr Katoch added that breast cancer among women and prostate cancer among men between the age group of 40-60 were most common in the state.
Comparing the research basis of the ICMR with Tata memorial, he said, "ICMR work is based on collecting data and then making analysis about what therapies are required; however, Tata memorial research is an in- depth study about therapies."
He said, "Government colleges are the thinking and research pillars, they should be the hub of research activity, the centre's role is of a catalyst. More research work would help improve health facilities in the country."
Director in charge of the national cancer registry programme, Bangalore, Dr A Nanda Kumar, also expressed concern over the rising number of cancer cases.
Kumar also lauded the efforts of the college and the Punjab government for carrying out cancer treatment at a large scale.
On the occasion, he also informed that Meghalaya had recorded the highest number of esophagus cancer patients.
He said, "The number of esophagus cancer patients in Meghalaya is 30 times higher than those in other states."