National Cancer Centre coming up near Chandigarh: prime minister

Expressing concern over an increase in the incidence of cancer, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Mullanpur on Saturday that the ruling UPA government was setting up a National Cancer Centre to fight the dreaded disease.

Addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone of the Rs450 crore Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Center on the outskirts of Chandigarh in Mohali district of Punjab, Singh said the National Cancer Center would be linked with zonal and regional cancer centres.

The Mullanpur cancer hospital would be developed and established by the Bhabha Atomic Research Center on the lines of the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, at a cost of Rs450 crore. Singh expressed hope that the project would be completed within four years.

Singh said the UPA government was committed to provide world class and affordable health care facilities to combat dreaded diseases like cancer.

"The government wants to provide affordable healthcare to all sections of the society, particularly the weaker section," he said.

He said as many as 27 regional cancer centres had been established in the country under the National Cancer Control programme of the government.

Oncology departments had been established in medical colleges and regional cancer centres were also being set up.

Meanwhile, Punjab government had made a rather emphatic claim that the state would be free of cancer within next two years, according to a report by The Times of India. Experts said the claims do not ring true if one were to go by the rules of medical science.

Meanwhile, though the Punjab government, continued to struggle to ascertain the cause of high incidence of the dreaded disease it did not deter the state, from making the statement that it (Punjab) "would soon" be a cancer-free state.

In a statement released a day ahead of laying of the foundation stone of Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (HBCHRC) at Mullanpur, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was quoted as saying "due to the concerted efforts of the SAD-BJP alliance government, Punjab would soon become a cancer-free state in the country."

The chief minister's claims even surprised medical experts treating cancer patients since decades. The Times of India report quoted Dr Devinder Singh Sandhu, AIIMS alumnus, who has also remained associated with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York, US and MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, Houston, US, as saying that based on the current knowledge of medical sciences, it was not possible to eradicate cancer. He said rather its incidence would increase in the coming years, as the major cause of cancer was the increase in overall rate of life expectancy.