New Delhi: Members of various parties in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday demanded that cancer detection and treatment centres be opened in every district of the country to help mitigate the problem of the poor suffering from the disease.
Participating in a short duration discussion on the need to ensure basic facilities and affordable treatment to cancer patients, MPs of all parties suggested various measures to tackle the problem which is growing in the country.
Leaders of all parties made the suggestion of setting up cancer detection and treatment centres at all district hospitals in the country.
Initiating the discussion, Vishmabhar Prasad Nishad (SP) said cancer is the worst disease in the world and its incidence is fast increasing in India.
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He cited various reasons for it including lifestyle, contamination in food products and water and excessive use of polythene and radiation through mobile phones, as some of the reasons behind the growing incidence of cancer.
He said the WHO has warned that a major part of India’s population will be afflicted with cancer and steps are required to be taken by the government.
The SP member said while the rich can get themselves treated abroad, it is the poor who have to suffer the most and the government needs to step up its efforts in this regard.
Congress leader and former health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad sought the status on various programmes of erstwhile UPA government for boosting infrastructure, human resources and awareness in health care sector particularly killer diseases cancer, diabetics and hypertension.
He told the House that the UPA government had give Rs 5 crore each to 640 districts for early detection of killer diseases and Rs 120 crore per hospital to states for making those as centres for treating such diseases.
He told the House that during 2025 to 2030, cancer, diabetics and hypertension combo would top the chart of diseases and affect a large portion of population.
He suggested the government provide more funds for creating infrastructure, human resources and awareness for early detection of these diseases.
He also sought status of cancer centres proposed and set up by the UPA government especially the one in Jhajjar in Haryana.
CPM member K K Ragesh suggested that the Centre should send a team to Kerala to study incidence of cancer in the state.
Besides packaged food should be checked properly as it can cause cancer, he said.
Manoj Jha (RJD) said environmental toxins are the major causes of cancer across the world.
He made a case of boosting research in the country on the deadly diseases.
“R&D is very weak in our county. We don’t know what quantum of GDP should be spent on health care. We should have a policy for health care and it should be made fundamental right.,” he said.
Tiruchi Siva (DMK) demanded that the government provide 10-day casual leave for treatment of cancer to its employees.
He also said that medicines for such diseases should be made cost effective and free for poor in government hospitals.
Sanjay Raut said more hospitals should be built on the lines of the Tata Cancer Institute.
V Vijaysai Reddy (YSRCP) asked the government to set up a cancer hospital in Vijaywada.
Echoing similar views, Sushil Kumar Gupta (AAP) and Prabhakar Kore (BJP) also participated in the debate.
A K Selvaraj (AIADMK) said cancer is spreading fast in India and in the world.
He cited air pollution, toxicity in water and use of pesticides and insecticides, and tobacco for increased incidence of cancer.
“This disease has to be detected at the initial stage only, but people find it only at the third or fourth stage, when it is difficult to get treatment,” he said.
“We have to detect the disease at the initial stage itself. Rich people can get treatment abroad, but our government has to create such facilities in India in each of its districts,” the AIADMK member said.
He also called for making chemotherapy treatment cheaper and said it should be made available at all hospitals across the country.
Wansuk Syiem (Congress) said cancer is considered a “rich man’s disease” and only the rich can get good treatment while the poor have to suffer due to high cost of treatment.
She pointed out to the lack of cancer treatment and detection centres in north eastern states and said people suffering from the disease have to travel long distances for treatment.
She demanded control on contaminated food products and control on sale of carcinogenic substances. She also pointed out to excessive use of tobacco, and called for controlling its sale along with that of chemicals and pesticides used in foodgrains.
The Congress member also called for sensitisation of people and urged the government to create more awareness about the disease.
“I urge the government should have more palliative care centres for persons afflicted with cancer and the need to create a massive awareness campaign about the disease and its prevention,” she said.
Vikas Mahatme (BJP) said people should be made aware that cancer can be treated if detected early and government should set up centres for early detection of the disease.
He also called for reducing the cost of treatment of cancer and more facilities to ensure those suffering from the disease get proper treatment.
Jogen Chowdhury (Trinamool Congress) said more women in India die of breast and cervical cancer. He called for making HPV vaccine part of the immunisation programme.
“Why is it not a part of the national immunisation programme,” he asked.
He said oral cancer is also preventable and government should allocate more funds for improving medical facilities.
Prasanna Acharya (BJD) said everyone cannot afford to go to private hospitals and the government needs to set up cancer-detection institutes in each district where the disease is more rampant.
He also asked the government to consider imposing more taxes on tobacco products.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu urged the members to make constructive suggestions on various aspects of this issue.
“Parliament can throw light on all aspects and the government and the society can be educated,” Naidu told members.