Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has sked the health department to focus on making the state cancer-free. He was concerned over a survey finding that shows Punjab witnessed 34,430 deaths - nearly 19 deaths per day - due to cancer in the last five years.
"Concerned over the fact that 34,430 people in Punjab lost their lives due this disease in the last five year, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has said that sustainable efforts be made to make the state cancer-free," a state government spokesperson said Wednesday.
Punjab Health Minister Madan Mohan Mittal handed over a copy of the survey report to the chief minister Tuesday evening.
The survey was conducted last year and covered nearly 97 percent of the state's 2.70 crore population.
The report also points out that 24,659 people in the state are suffering from the disease, while another 87,403 people have symptoms of cancer.
According to the spokesperson, Badal said proper treatment should be provided to those suffering from the disease as the health department now has an extensive database of the patients and those with symptoms of cancer.
Although cancer was found prevalent across the state, the incidence of the disease was high in the Malwa belt of south-west Punjab that comprises districts of Ludhiana, Bathinda, Sangrur, Mansa, Muktsar and Patiala.
Badal also said that since the treatment of cancer was very costly, the health department must ensure that every patient was able to get immediate assistance from the Chief Minister's Cancer Relief Fund for treatment.
The state heath minister said that over 40,000 field workers had conducted the survey by visiting 5,158,154 houses across the state. It took about one month to complete the survey.