Bengaluru, June 28 (IANS) Concerned over the spread of cancer at an alarming rate due to changing lifestyles, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday called for setting up of more cancer treatment units in rural areas to fight the dreaded disease.
“While cancer hospitals and treatment facilities are available in many urban areas, we need to establish cancer units for early detection, diagnosis and treatment in rural areas,” said Naidu after unveiling a new state cancer institute block at the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology here.
The government needs to find policy alternatives in order to make cancer treatment affordable for all, including about 70 per cent population living in the rural areas, Naidu said.
“No doubt, huge investments are needed for trained man power and equipment, but the government should explore various policy alternatives that would make cancer treatment affordable,” he added.
With nearly five lakh deaths occurring annually in the country due to cancer, there was a need for greater awareness on the risks of developing the disease due to sedentary lifestyle, pollution, the Vice President stressed.
It is estimated that there are about 30 lakh cases of cancer in the country at any particular point of time, with nearly 10 lakh new cases occurring each year.
Quoting the projections by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 2016, Naidu said that by 2020 the number of new cancer cases was expected to touch 17.3 lakh and the deaths 8.8 lakh.
According to the National Cancer Registry Programme of the ICMR, nearly one in every 15 men and one in every 12 women in urban parts of the country who can develop cancer, with breast cancer and mouth cancer being common among women and men respectively, Naidu added.
Governor Vajubhai R. Vala, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Irrigation and Medical Education Minister D.K. Shivakumar were among those present on the occasion.