Updated 5:35 am, Dec 17, 2017

Amritsar, Ludhiana record more cancer cases than Malwa | SNE

By  The Times of India .
Dec 07, 2017

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BATHINDA: The cotton belt of southern Malwa region doesn’t have the highest incidence of cancer in Punjab, as perceived. Rather, Amritsar and Ludhiana are more prone to cancer if the cases reported for financial help under the Mukya Mantri Cancer Rahat Kosh are any indication.
Both districts have left cotton belt of Bathinda, Mansa and Muktsar behind in reporting cancer cases. These facts came to the fore in the data released by the state government about cases approved for financial help under CM’s relief fund scheme till August 23. So far, the cotton growing area of Malwa was called the cancer belt due to excessive use of pesticides and contamination of water. Even a train from Bathinda to Bikaner in Rajasthan was called as ‘Cancer Express’ as it carried patients from Malwa for treatment of the dreaded disease.
Official data revealed that the state government has approved/disbursed Rs 539.16 crore in 42,564 cases of cancer across Punjab from January 2012 to August 23 this year. The state government provides financial help of up to Rs 1.5 lakh in the treatment of cancer.
As per data prepared by Punjab health department about the cases approved for financial help to cancer victims, Amritsar district tops with 4,692 cases. It is followed by Ludhiana with 4,052 cases in the same period. Bathinda is at third with 3,250 cases followed by Gurdaspur (2,859), Jalandhar (2,801) and Tarn Taran (2,204). Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Amritsar are in Majha and Jalandhar is in Doaba region — all these districts are non-cotton sowing areas.
Majha region comprising Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Pathankot reported 10,262 cases from January 2012 to August 23. In Doaba region comprising Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr, 6,200 cancer cases were reported. Punjab averaged 1,934 cases per districts. Amritsar, Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Tarn Taran reported higher number of such cases than the state’s average. Apart from these, Sangrur, Patiala and Ferozepur too reported 2,903, 2,817 and 1,968 cases, respectively.
“The data corrects the misconception that Malwa region, especially the cotton belt, is more prone to cancer. Reasons behind higher cancer incidence in Amritsar and Ludhiana need to seriously followed. As per cancer specialists, the effluents and industrial waste of industries in these areas are the reasons behind the spread of the disease. Areas along Buddha Nullah in Ludhiana have also shown high incidence of cancer,” said cancer specialist Dr Manjit Jaura, who has worked at Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.
Principal secretary (health) Anjali Bhawra said that, “Patients may have preferred treatment where more facilities are available. They might have given addresses of places where they are getting treatment and financial help. The department has complied district-wise data but we have no proof of the bona fide residency of every patient.”

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