Despite various awareness programmes on hazardous effects of use of tobacco and a ban on sale of its products in the vicinity of educational institutions, a recent report paints a grim picture of the status of cancer in Nagaland. Use of tobacco is responsible for 90 per cent of oral cancer cases in the State. As per data provided by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the estimated prevalence rate of cancer in Nagaland was 4264 in 2011, 4307 in 2012 and 4353 in 2013 while the mortality rate was 695 in 2011, 702 in 2012 and 709 in 2013. About 67.9 per cent men and 28.1 per cent women in the State consume tobacco as per government sources.
In statewise details, Maharashtra topped the list with 43943 cases of deaths in 2013 while Lakshadweep is the lowest with 27 cases in the same year.
As per the recent PIB report, the number of doctors working in government sector having training in oncology and number of government medical colleges in the country which have oncology wards is not maintained centrally.
While doctors with DM (Medical Oncology), M.Ch (Surgical Oncology) and MD (Radiation Oncology) treat cancer patients in higher level tertiary care hospitals, Cancer is also being treated in hospitals by other doctors such as general surgeons, gynecologists, ENT surgeons etc., depending on the type and site of cancer. In fact, cancer is being diagnosed and treated at various levels in the government health care system. The government of India had assisted 27 regional cancer centres which have oncology wards.
The Central government has recently approved a scheme for enhancing the tertiary care cancer facilities in the country. Under this scheme, the Centre will assist 20 state cancer institutes (SCIs) and 50 tertiary care cancer centres (TCCCs) in different parts of the country.
The Central government is supplementing the efforts of the state governments for providing healthcare facilities including for cancer. The treatment in government hospitals is either free or subsidized. Financial assistance to below poverty line (BPL) patients is provided under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN). The Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund within RAN has been set up in 2009 wherein 27 erstwhile regional cancer centres (RCCs) are provided with revolving funds to provide immediate financial assistance upto Rs 1 lakh to BPL cancer patients. (Eastern Mirror News)