Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday vowed to make Punjab one of the best cancer treatment destinations in the country and set up world-class facilities to combat the disease at affordable rates.
Inaugurating a workshop on cancer registration and cancer control at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here, the Chief Minister emphasised the need for a campaign to create awareness about the disease among people, especially those living in remote areas.
The workshop was organised by Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai in collaboration with PGIMER under the auspices of the Punjab government.
Endorsing the views expressed by TMC director R A Badwe about probable causes like lack of exercise and physical activity, obesity, less intake of fruits and vegetables besides tendency to consume alcohol and chew tobacco, he said these must be widely publicised among the masses.
The adage, “prevention is better than cure”, must be put into practice by making people aware of ill-effects of cancer and at the same time sensitising them about the necessity of early detection, Badal said.
The Chief Minister shared how he lost his father and wife due to cancer and narrated his own traumatic experience of cancer and getting it cured in the US about two decades ago by seeking doctor’s timely intervention at its initial stage.
Therefore, he reiterated that early detection of cancer was of paramount importance to give a new lease of life to those suffering from the disease.
Highlighting the role of cancer registries in control and research of this fatal disease, Badal said the Population Based Cancer Registration (PBCR) started in Chandigarh, Mohali, Mansa and Sangrur have put forth useful data in identifying different types of cancer in the state.
These registries were eyes and ears of the cancer control and research programmes, which will help the state intensify its effort to tackle the disease far more effectively, the Chief Minister said.
Speaking on initiatives taken by the state government to tackle cancer, the Chief Minister said the Punjab State Cancer and Drug Addiction Treatment Infrastructure Act has been legislated and a dedicated annual fund of Rs 300 crore would be credited to it for providing assistance to cancer patients.
He said under the Chief Minister’s Cancer Relief Fund Rs 1.50 lakh was being given to all cancer patients regardless of their economic and social status.
Badal said cancer hospital on the lines of Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai would soon come up at Mullanpur near Chandigarh and the state government has given a plot of over 50 acres of land free of cost for the purpose.
A 100-bedded advanced cancer centre at Bathinda would be soon made functional and Government Medical Colleges at Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot have been upgraded to provide state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment facilities to cancer patients, he said.
Efforts were afoot to provide cancer drugs at cheaper rates and so far 133 drugs were being made available to patients at subsidised rates.
To combat cancer efficaciously, the state government has regularly been sending teams of doctors and surgeons from Punjab to abroad and TMC for specialised training in oncology and radio diagnosis, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, TMC director R A Badwe said he was impressed by out of the box initiatives taken by the state government to control cancer in the state.
Badwe said TMC would soon initiate civil works at its upcoming cancer hospital at Mullanpur and would make it operational along with another facility at Vizag in Andhra Pradesh.