New Delhi: As the country observes 'World No Tobacco Day' today, moves to make cancer a notifiable disease are making progress with Keral, along with Punjab agreeing to such a proposal. A meeting of various states will be held in the Health Ministry here next week to discuss the issue.
Punjab and Kerala are already registering all cancer cases and are creating a database of all patients in their states. ‘We are working on possibilities of making cancer a notifiable disease and an expert group is already looking into this,’ Health Secretary P K Pradhan told PTI. He, however, said before doing so, steps to improve infrastructure for cancer treatment and detection have to be strengthened across the country.
Pradhan said, ‘Government is working out ways and means to strengthen the existing cancer centres and improve the screening process, besides creating more human resources for cancer detection and treatment.’
Meanwhile, leading oncologist Vinod Raina said that in India's context, statistics related to tobacco -- a major cause of cancer -- are shocking as one in every five male deaths and one in every 20 female deaths are caused by smoking and other forms of tobacco use.
‘India has now around 12 crore tobacco users, which means every 9th Indian consumes tobacco,’ Raina said, adding that ‘one-third of cancers in India are related to tobacco/smoking.’ Raina, who is head of Medical Oncology at AIIMS, said ‘Tobacco smoke is responsible for 80 to 90 per cent of all lung tumours.’ He said more than 56 per cent of lung cancer cases are detected at the 4th stage where chances of survival are three to four months. He blamed lack of awareness and facilities for screening as being responsible for this, saying less than 10 per cent of cancer cases are reported right now.