Hospitals in State yet to report confirmed cases of cancer online

Six months after government declared cancer a notifiable disease, data collection yet to begin

Hospitals in State yet to report confirmed cases of cancer online

 The State government declared cancer a notifiable disease in August 2015 but collection of data from most hospitals is yet to begin.

Every hospital (private or public), pathological, clinical and radiological labs, institutions imparting medical education and providing diagnostics treatment and any other healthcare facilities in the State must report confirmed cases of cancer online. The decision was taken on the recommendation of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to facilitate planning, guidance, monitoring and evaluation of the Cancer Research and Control Programme in the country.

The logistics are in place, but data collection is yet to begin. The Karnataka Cancer Control Committee, which has to oversee the implementation of the notification, has not been formed either. A member who initially approached the health department in this regard said the officials concerned had not taken necessary steps to form the committee. “Whenever approached, all the senior officials say they have other tasks at hand,” the person said.

Dr A Nandakumar, Head, National Cancer Registry Programme, ICMR, said the website on which the data was to be uploaded was ready the day the notification was issued. “But the government is yet to form the committee. Only a handful of hospitals have been reporting the cases,” he said. “Our expectations have not been met.” When contacted, Minister for Health and Family Welfare U T Khader said he was unsure about the latest update and that he would act on the same once the panchayat elections were over.

The Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology has a population-based registry. Dr C Ramesh, Head, Department of Epidemiology, said that data for the registry was being collected from hospitals in Bengaluru city. “We estimate the number of cases in Karnataka based on the data we get in Bengaluru. So, there are no exact numbers. Across India, there are 29 population-based registries. The number of cancer cases in the country are in turn estimated based on the data gathered from these registries,” he explained. In reality, these registries cover just 10 per cent of the population, he added.

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