They will help early detection, also maintain a registry

The Karnataka Health Commission (KHC) on Thursday announced its partnership with HCG, a private cancer care hospital, to set up cancer screening centres with nodal officers in the districts.

This will help in early detection of the disease as well as maintaining a cancer registry. The KHC will facilitate the screening in the district hospitals and the private hospital will provide the required infrastructure and training, said N. Prabhu Dev, chairperson of the commission.

Addressing presspersons, Dr. Prabhu Dev said that a senior doctor from each one of the district hospitals will be trained to screen patients for symptoms of cancer. The district hospitals will be notified as regional cancer registry centres. This will help in ensuring that all medical establishments provide details of patients diagnosed for cancer or mortality due to cancer, he said.

Through the partnership, the commission will collaborate with pharmaceutical companies to ensure drugs are available at subsidised cost to patients.

B.S. Ajaikumar, chairperson of HCG, said that most patients could not afford the expensive cancer drugs. “We are planning to dispense generic drugs through the pharmacies in the district hospitals,” he said.

In the absence of diagnostic facilities at the district level, most cancer patients reach hospitals only in an advanced stage. “HCG will set up basic pathology laboratories in the districts and offer the services at subsidised costs. KHC will provide infrastructure,” he said.

Giving statistics of cancer incidence, he said that HCG will identify clinicians in the districts and carry out continuous training and development programmes.

Notify the disease

Dr. Prabhu Dev said that the commission would recommend to the Union Health Ministry to declare cancer as a notifiable disease.

“If it is declared so, cancer will become the first non-communicable disease to be brought under notifiable diseases.

“Then, every cancer case will be reported. As of now we do not have the exact figure of how many new cases are detected every year in the country.

“Notifying the disease will help in documenting the statistics and take measures to tackle it,” he added.