Punjab in grip of cancer, over 33,000 died in last five years: Minister

Confirming Punjab government's worst fears, a door-to-door survey of the health department — covering almost 98 per cent of the state's population — has found that the incidence of cancer in Punjab is higher than the accepted national and the international average.

When compared to World Health Organization's point of reference in regard to incidence of cancer — 80 affected among a population of one lakh — Punjab's survey has discovered that 90 people in population of one lakh are suffering from cancer. While 215 people per lakh have died of cancer, another 318 per lakh are suspected of suffering from the disease.

While releasing the report of the statewide cancer awareness and symptom based early detection campaign, Punjab Health Minister Madan Mohan Mittal said this was a matter of "grave concern".

He added that the survey, conducted from October to December 2012, has covered 2,64,84,434 people in 50,53,447 households in 12,603 villages and 217 cities and towns. "This amounts to 97.78 per cent of the population going by the Census data. While 23,874 cases of people suffering from cancer have been detected, the number of persons complaining of cancer symptoms were 84,453.

According to the survey, 33,318 cancer deaths have occurred during last five years, out of which 14,682 were in the Malwa region alone. As many as 4,000 of these happened in Ludhiana.

Region wise, Malwa (107.1 per lakh) has topped the list followed by Doaba (88.1 per lakh) and Majha (64.7 per lakh). In Malwa, districtwise, incidence of cancer was the highest in Muktsar (136.3 per lakh) followed by Mansa, Bathinda and Ferozepur. The number of cancer suspects in the Malwa region was the highest in Moga, followed by Sangrur, Muktsar and Ferozepur.

Among Doaba region districts, the incidence of cancer was the highest in Kapurthala (99.1 per lakh) followed by Jalandhar and Hoshiapur. The highest number of cancer suspects were in Jalandhar, followed by Kapurthala. In Majha region, Amritsar showed the highest incidence (81.2 per lakh) while Tarn Taran had the highest number of suspected cases of cancer.

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