Cancer is a multifactorial disease, the risk factors of which include aging population, sedentary lifestyle, use of tobacco products, unhealthy diet and air pollution. As informed by ICMR, adulterated food items are associated with cancer of breast, brain and prostrate as per study published in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology in 2018.
The report of technical committee under Directorate General of Health Services recommends assessing the impact of cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) and suggests preventive and corrective measures, air pollution is associated with cancer. As informed by ICMR, contaminated water is associated with cancer of skin as per study published in Clinics in Oncology in 2020.
The Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, provides technical and financial support to the States/UTs under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS), as part of National Health Mission (NHM), based on the proposals received from the States/UTs and subject to the resource envelope. Cancer is an integral part of NPCDCS. The programme focusses on strengthening infrastructure, human resource development, health promotion & awareness generation for Cancer prevention, early diagnosis, management and referral to an appropriate level of healthcare facility for treatment of the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), including Cancer. Under NPCDCS, 708 District NCD Clinics, 301 District Day Care Centres, and 5671 Community Health Center NCD Clinics has been set up.
A population-based initiative for prevention, control and screening for common NCDs i.e., diabetes, hypertension and common cancers has been rolled out in the country under NHM and also as a part of Comprehensive Primary Health Care. Under the initiative, persons more than 30 years of age are targeted for their screening for the three common cancers i.e., oral, breast and cervical. Screening of these common cancers is an integral part of service delivery under Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres.
Cancer is diagnosed and treated at various levels in the health care facilities. The treatment in Government Hospitals is either free or highly subsidized for the poor and needy. The Central Government implements Strengthening of Tertiary Care Cancer Facilities Scheme in order to enhance the facilities for tertiary care of cancer. 19 State Cancer Institutes (SCIs) and 20 Tertiary Care Cancer Centres (TCCCs) have been approved under the said scheme.
There is also focus on Oncology in its various aspects in case of new AIIMS and many upgraded institutions under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY). Setting up of National Cancer Institute at Jhajjar (Haryana) and second campus of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata are also steps in this direction. All these enhance the capacity for treatment of cancer in the country.
The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar stated this in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.
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