ITANAGAR, 7 Oct: “A full-fledged cancer hospital with requisite staff and technologies is in the pipeline,” said Health Minister Alo Libang on Saturday, after inaugurating a three-day ‘cancer detection and awareness camp’ at St Claret College auditorium in Lower Subansiri HQ Ziro.
“I am sure we will soon have our own cancer hospital to make Arunachal Pradesh a cancer-free state,” he said, and added that “similar camps will be organised in Papum Pare and Pasighat, where cases of cancer are also high.”
“The camp is being organised by the Arunachal Cancer Welfare Society and Guwahati (Assam)-based Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), under the atomic energy department and a unit of TMC Mumbai, and Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast, in collaboration with the District Health Society and the district administration,” the Lower Subansiri DIPRO informed in a release.
The minister also assured to “take up the demand of the Tani Supun Dukun (TSD), the Apatani Apex body, for construction of a 10-bedded tertiary cancer hospital at Gyati Takka General Hospital (GTGH),” the release said.
Libang further informed that two ‘mobile vans’ were rolled out by the health department recently to exclusively cater to cancer patients.
Endorsing the TSD’s demand, local MLA and Agriculture Minister Tage Taki also appealed to the health minister to “depute a team from the health department to study and research the food habits and water content of Ziro valley to ascertain if there is any direct relation between them and cancer,” the release said.
“Registration of more than 1,000 persons for the cancer detection camp is an alarming sign. I hope GTGH will also soon have a 10-bedded tertiary cancer hospital,” he added.
Former health adviser to the North Eastern Council and convener of the cancer awareness camp, Dr Bamin Tada informed that 24 doctors from within and outside the state have come to take part in the camp. He expressed happiness that more than 1,000 persons have registered themselves for the cancer detection test.
Pointing out that 33 per cent of the total cancer patients go outside the state for treatment, Dr Tada also stressed the need for a full-fledged cancer hospital for the state and a 10-bedded tertiary cancer hospital at GTGH.
“An extensive research needs to be carried out to find out the causes of rising cancers in the Apatani plateau,” he opined.
BBCI director Dr BB Borthakur said that incidences of cancer are different at different stages. “Cancer is curable, provided it is detected early during its pre-cancerous stage,” he said, and added that cancer shows its signs during its formative stage.
Informing that stomach cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the district, Dr Borthakur said that cases of cancer are rising throughout the country.
“It is 300 per one lakh population in the country, while it is one in 35 persons in Papum Pare district,” he informed.
Advocating a “handholding approach” to decimate the scourge of cancer, Dr Borthakur underlined the roles of community leaders, NGOs and social media platforms in teaching and educating people about early signs of cancer.
“Without people coming forward for detection and diagnosis, it is difficult to fight cancer,” he said.
TRIHMS TCC Dr Rubu Sunku spoke on ‘Introduction to cancer and its risk factors’ and ‘Stomach and liver cancers: Risk factor and early detection’; BBCI neck oncology head Dr Ashok Das spoke on ‘Tobacco burden and its association with cancer in Northeast and Arunachal Pradesh’; TRIHMS TCC Dr Todak Taba spoke on ‘Gynaecological cancer control and building healthy lifestyle’; and state cancer control programme nodal officer Dr S Tsering presented a ‘Brief overview on cancer treatment in Arunachal Pradesh’.
Deputy Commissioner Bamin Nime and District Medical Officer Dr Nani Rika also spoke.
“A total of 1,251 persons have registered for the free cancer detection test, for which two cancer screening vans have been pressed into service. Upper GI endoscopy was done on 281 persons, oltrasonography to 432 persons, cervical cancer screening to 214 persons, breast cancer screening to 269 females, oral cancer screening to 494 persons, and viral markers done to 546 persons,” the release said.
“While 10 cases of suspected cancer were detected yesterday, another 12 cases were detected today (Saturday), whose results are awaited,” the DIPRO informed.
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