ICMR survey to assess cancer service availability in UP

Lucknow, March 17 (IANS) The National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR) of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has initiated a survey of the availability of cancer services in Uttar Pradesh.

NICPR director Dr Shalini Singh had written to mission director of UP National Health Mission, Pinky Jowel, seeking the support of the state health machinery with the survey exercise at the level of primary health centres and district hospitals.

The work has included 16 UP districts and so far, has been completed in Gautam Buddha Nagar, while it is underway in Muzaffarnagar.

The remaining districts where the survey is to be held are Rampur, Agra, Badaun, Lakhimpur Kheri, Lucknow, Auraiya, Lalitpur, Pratapgarh, Ayodhya, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Jaunpur and Mirzapur.

The survey is significant considering that an estimated 2.1 lakh cases of cancer are reported every year in UP, which is highest among Indian states.

This number is based on information gathered from cancer registries at tertiary care institutions like Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS).

Experts believe that the figure could be an underestimation of the actual size of the problem. Also, the burden on tertiary care centres calls for a need to assess if cancer diagnosis services such as tests and human resources are available at district hospitals and facilities below this level.

Meanwhile, experts at SGPGIMS said available data shows that the lone cause of cancer in every second male patient in the state is tobacco.

Citing data from ICMR’s national cancer registry, the doctors said more than 53 per cent of all cancers caused in men were linked to tobacco.

The corresponding figure for women is about 15 per cent, while the average for UP is 37.5 per cent.

The report also showed that the most of these cancers are related to the oral cavity, lung and other upper aero digestive section categories.

“A good majority of patients reach medical centres in advanced stages, where options for curative therapies get limited,” said Prof. Punita Lal, senior faculty at SGPGI’s radiotherapy department.



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