New Delhi: The number of cancer cases in the country is projected to go up from 14.6 lakh in 2022 to 15.7 lakh in 2025, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Cancer Registry Programme (ICMR-NCRP), the government informed Parliament on Tuesday. Elaborating on the steps taken by the government in this regard, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said a population-based initiative for prevention, control and screening for common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, hypertension and common cancers, has been rolled out in the country under the National Health Mission (NHM) and also as a part of comprehensive primary healthcare.
Under the initiative, those aged above 30 years are targeted for screening for three common cancers — oral, breast and cervical. Screening for these common cancers is an integral part of service delivery under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre scheme, the minister said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.
The Department of Health and Family Welfare provides technical and financial support to the states and Union territories under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) as part of the NHM, based on the proposals received from the states and subject to the resource envelope.
The three most common types of cancers, oral, breast and cervical, are an integral part of the NPCDCS. The programme focuses on strengthening infrastructure, human resource development, health promotion and awareness generation for prevention, early diagnosis, management and referral to an appropriate level of healthcare facility for the treatment of NCDs, including cancer, Pawar said.
The preventive aspect of cancer is strengthened under comprehensive primary healthcare through the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre scheme by the promotion of wellness activities and targeted communication at the community level.
Other initiatives for raising public awareness on cancer and promotion of a healthy lifestyle include the observation of National Cancer Awareness Day and World Cancer Day and the use of print, electronic and social media for continued community awareness.
Furthermore, healthy eating is promoted through the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The Fit India movement is implemented by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and various yoga-related activities are carried out by the Ministry of AYUSH.
In addition, the NPCDCS gives financial support under the NHM for awareness generation (IEC) activities for cancer to be taken up by the states in accordance with their programme implementation plans (PIPs).
The Centre implements the Strengthening of Tertiary Cancer Care Centre Facilities scheme in order to enhance the facilities for tertiary care of cancer.
Pawar said 19 state cancer institutes (SCIs) and 20 tertiary care cancer centres (TCCCs) have been approved under the scheme.
The states are given financial assistance in the ratio of 60:40 (90:10 in the case of northeastern and hilly states), the minister said in her written reply.