Free Treatment for Cancer Patients

As per the latest estimates projected by National Cancer Registry Programme of Indian Council of Medical Research, the prevalence of cancer in the country is about 27 lakh. The incidence of new cancer cases every year in the country is about 11 lakh.

Treatment of Cancer, wherever available in the Government health care delivery system is mostly subsidized. Under Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi, funds are given to states illness assistance funds/ societies to provide assistance to all BPL patients suffering from life threatening diseases upto Rs. 1.5 lakhs per case. Under the same scheme, Ministry gives grants to revolving funds of hospitals under control of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to provide financial assistance upto Rs. 1 lakh in each case to patients suffering from lifethreatening diseases. Further, under this scheme Health Ministry directly gives financial assistance in cases where assistance sought is more than Rs. 1.5 lakh in each case. However this assistance is available only for BPL patients taking treatment in Government hospitals. Under Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund, entire fund is distributed to 27 Regional Cancer Centres for providing assistance to BPL cancer patients taking treatments there upto Rs. 1 lakh in each case.

In addition, financial assistance is given to poor indigent patients maximum upto Rs. 50,000 in each case, from Health Minister’s discretionary grant to defray a part of the expenditure on hospitalization/treatment in government hospitals in cases where free medical facility is not available. During the current year, 2202 cancer patients have been aided financial assistance by this Ministry.

241 cancer patients have been recommended by the Members of Parliament during the year 2011-12 for financial assistance for their treatment.  The Working Group on Disease Burden; Non-Communicable Diseases set up by the Planning Commission for the 12th Plan, recommended development of 20 State Cancer Institutes as Centre of Excellence besides 3 National Cancer Institutes. However, this will be dependent on final approval of Planning Commission and availability of resources.

The above information was given by the Minister of Health & Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad in the Rajy Sabha today.

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