Govt connecting cancer treatment centres online

Lack of effort to create awareness among women, says Azad


The Health ministry is in the process of establishing “OncoNET” (India), a network connecting 27 regional cancer centres and 100 peripheral centres to facilitate telemedicine services and medical education, the minister said.

“The peripheral centres at the district level would initially be linked to the regional cancer centres,” Azad said during a function at Tata Memorial Hospital here.

The minister said the Centre has allocated Rs 2,400 crore for the National Cancer Control programme during the 11th Five Year Plan which is ten times more than the previous plan and the focus is on community-based cancer prevention and control strategies.

“We have about 250 institutions in the country having cancer treatment facilities and special focus is on early detection of breast and cervical cancer,” he said. “I am confident that once the revised National Cancer Control Programme is initiated, early detection and management of cancers in women would be accessible and affordable at the district level in the country,” Azad said.

Noting that the most effective ways of prevention of breast cancer is Self-Breast Examination (SBE) and early detection, Azad said there is lack of effort on the part of doctors to promote awareness among women.

Azad also said that the vaccines targeted against Human papilloma virus (HPV), one of the causative factors for cervical cancer, was being evaluated for efficacy and safety by Indian Council of Medical Research.

He asked the doctors to critically evaluate the new advancement in technologies and its cost effectiveness.

Matter of concern

Azad said it was a matter of concern that about two-third of the cancer patients are diagnosed only at an advanced stage when it is well established that cancer can be controlled if diagnosed early.  Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar, who is also chairman of the council of the Tata Memorial Hospital, said effective and affordable technologies are needed in the rural and remote areas.
Since the high cost of imported equipment creates a barrier to the low cost technology “we need some protection or policy thrust so that it does not happen, Kakodkar said.

The Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) launched its mobile outreach programme jointly taken up by the Women’s Cancer Initiative.

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