Chandigarh: While cancer continues to take a social and financial toll on the state, the Punjab government does not have the exact number of cancer patients in the state. It has, however, confirmed that more than 46,000 cancer patients applied for financial assistance during the last eight years. Bathinda and Mansa, meanwhile, have the highest incidence of cervical cancer.
For cashless treatment of cancer patients, financial assistance of up to Rs 1.50 lakh is given to government and empaneled hospitals. In 2017, Amritsar topped the list with 847 cancer patients applying for treatment, followed by 842 in Ludhiana, and 724 in Patiala.
“For prevention of cervical cancer, HPV vaccine has been introduced in the state. In the first phase, it has been administered to class VI girls in government schools of district Bathinda and Mansa, which have highest prevalence of cervical cancer in the state. The vaccine is being introduced in the rest of the state in a phased manner,” said health minister Brahm Mohindra in his reply to a question by MLA Davinder Singh Ghubaya.
Besides, the Centre has approved two 50-bedded tertiary cancer care centres in district Hoshiarpur and Fazilka at a cost of Rs 45 crore. A state cancer institute is being set up at government medical college in Amritsar, in collaboration with the union government. Tate Memorial Cancer Research Centre, Mumbai, is also setting up a 300-bedded Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in New Chandigarh.