Cancer cases in Haryana – More Than Just a Disease
12th September 2014
As per a study being done by a research body, cancer is slowly becoming a more prominent disease in Haryana. In fact, the situation has worsened to such an extent that the North Indian state is on its way to becoming a highly affected area in the days to come. It is being touted that the lifestyle of the common people with their emphasis on smoking and drinking is perhaps the main reason for this. One wonders what role has been played by the government and health authorities, in question, to address the situation.
It is being stated that Haryana has right now the highest number of cancer patients. The study has also revealed that people who smoke are more likely to be affected by this disease rather than people who do not, and men are more susceptible to cancer than women are. Similarly, in case of people who consume alcohol, the risk of contracting cancer is more compared to ones who do not. In all, it is a rather depressing state of affairs and one that needs strict intervention of the state government.
The first question that needs to be asked in this sordid scenario is why has the state government of Haryana allowed the situation to reach such a level where the state has become a leader of sorts in cancer affliction in the northern Indian region. The popular affection for drinking, smoking and other unhealthy habits are not unknown to any, least of all the people who are running the show and profess to work for the betterment of the people who voted them to power in the first place.
Then why has no concrete step been taken in all these years to counter the problems, to reverse the trends and get the people started on the road to health? What is stopping the government from taking the measures that need to be taken? The questions – as of now – are many but the answers, unfortunately, are rather few. However, it is not that the situation cannot be salvaged.
To start with, the government needs to increase the prices of cigarettes in such a way that they are beyond the reach of the common people. Smoking, as has been stated already, is a main contributor to the burgeoning numbers of the patients of this disease in the state. With increasing prices, one hopes that the common people will be unable to access them on a more regular basis and it will curb smoking and in a way lead people to be healthier than how they used to be before.
Similarly, in case of alcohol, the government needs to impose greater taxes on the establishments that sell these products – both in the urban and rural areas – so that they in turn are forced to increase their products’ prices as well. This will at least ensure that a lesser number of people have access to these. The logic in this case is that the poor, who if affected with cancer will not have the necessary financial strength to get well from it, need to be protected and that can be done effectively by making things costlier for them.
However, these are only short-term steps. For the long term, the government needs to think of cancer hospitals in the state, especially in areas with high incidence of this disease. In the village areas these could be made free for the poor people so that they have some hope. People also need to be educated about the requirement of a healthy lifestyle to combat such deadly diseases and this can be done through awareness campaigns especially in the villages and smaller towns.
The state can also, from time to time, organise cancer test camps where people can come and check if they have cancer or not if they are experiencing undue physical ailments for a long time. If detected early, there is a chance that they could be cured of the same. Problems will always be there but it is not that the answers are not known to anyone. The question is – is there a will necessary to adopt and consequently implement them?