‘87 Percent Rise In Cancer Cases In 7 Years In J&K’

Srinagar—Jammu and Kashmir has seen an alarming 87 percent rise in cancer cases during last seven years, said a Public Interest Litigation referring to official data following which the high court on Saturday directed Chief Secretary and Director SKIMS to file a status report indicating details about treatment of cancer patients at the institute.

“Over the years there has been drastic increase in the number of malignancies cases in the state of J&K. To cater to the needs of growing population with growing cancer cases, “State Cancer Institute” an exclusive center for cancer patients was proposed by the state government with the assistance of Central Government.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of the court directed that counsel representing the chief secretary and director SKIMS to file status report, indicating details as to what is the cost of construction on new block for treatment of cancer patients, what is the time frame fixed by completion of construction, how much amount has been earmarked for the same, how many operation theaters are in the institute specially for surgery of cancer patients, how many therapy centers are in place and number of General wards, payment wards and VIPs wards in the SKIMS soura.

The PIL has been filed by one Rabia Khurshid through Counsel Syed Musaib, seeking direction to the authorities to comply with the Guidelines for Strengthening of Tertiary Care of Cancer as provided by Government of India in letter and spirit.

The petitioner said that in an alarming scenario, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed an unprecedented 87 percent rise in cancer cases during last seven years as per the government figures.

“Presently there is long list of cancer patient waiting for their turn to be operated, unfortunately there are only two days assigned for cancer surgeries in the (SKIMS) institute as a result of which either patients die in the wait-list or the cancer has already done an irreparable damage to their bodies,” the petitioner said. World is facing an epidemic of non-communicable diseases and it is predicted that cancer will be an important cause of mortality and morbidity all over the world in next few decades, they said. Further, it is estimated that the incidence of new cancer cases will rise from 12.7 million cases in 2008 to 21.4 million by 2030, and nearly two-thirds of it will occur in low-to-middle income countries, the petitioner said.

They said the Department of Surgical Oncology was established in SKIMS on the pattern of various renowned health care institutions of India but since it was in its infancy, lot of chaos and confusion persist there. “Chairman Governing Body, SKIMS was forced to convened a meeting and passed various directions for better functioning of the department, one among them was that

Department of Surgical Oncology shall work independently and all logistic support and manpower will be provided to the same,” they said.

They said that after the commencement of the structural work of the state cancer institute, certain deviations were noticed by the stakeholders and a detailed meeting was conducted by all the HODs of Oncological services in the office of Nodal Officer, State Cancer Institute, wherein certain structural flaws were pointed out in the building of State Cancer Institute and same was forwarded to the relevant authorities. However till date the structural flaws have not been rectified, further jeopardizing the chances of health improvement of cancer patient.

The PIL seeks construction of operation theatres in the upcoming State Cancer Institute as per the proposed requisition.

The petitioner also seeks direction to the authorities to make available operation theatres for the department of surgical oncology for all seven days in the week.

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