A rare form of cancer has been detected in Channu village falling under Lambi assembly segment of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, setting off an alarm among stake-holders.
Of the 12 cancer patients found among 150 persons who participated at a cancer detection camp on Tuesday, more than six had rare cancer. "We are alarmed," remarked Dr Sukhdeep Gill, deputy director of Global Cancer Concern, India. "Normally, we come across only two to three cases in a sample of this size."
"It's a high degree (of prevalence)," agreed Vikram Singh, state head of the Naandi foundation that co-organised the camp.
Vikram decided to take rare-cancer detection and awareness camp to Channu after he found more than 15 villagers living with the disease and an equally high number of cases in nearby villages. The camp was held at government primary school, Channu.
The ground realities at Channu could be worse, as villagers told HT about more than 16 deaths because of cancer in the last few years. Some patients skipped the camp because of social stigma.
Dr Anoop, who runs the only dispensary at Channu, had no first-hand information about the medical history of cancer patients in the village. He referred the reporter to the camp organisers. The doctor was himself busy with Pulse Polio campaign.
In October last year, during the state's first cancer-awareness camp, the CM had agreed to hold 300 more campaigns of the sort across the state. The camp was held at Badal, his native village in
Lambi constituency. There hasn't been a camp outside Lambi since.
On Tuesday, the NGOs managed to get only two doctors from the Punjab health system corporation and some Asha workers to be part of the team that manned the camp. Most specialist doctors at the camp were from the private sector, as organisers did not found suitable talent in any of the government institutions.
"In 80% cases in India, cancer is detected at the last stage," said Dr Sukhdeep Gill. "Cancer-awareness camps should have the frequency of Pulse Polio campaign. It can save many lives."
Gill also insisted that the treatment for cancer should be made affordable for everyone.