Shillong, May 31: Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma today launched the Meghalaya Cancer Care or ‘Meg Can Care’ project for screening and early detection of cancer at U Soso Tham Auditorium here.
The programme is an initiative of Government of Meghalaya in collaboration with Appollo Telemedicine Foundation and World Economic Forum. Also present was Minister if Health, Dr M Ampareen Lyngdoh.
Speaking during the launch, Chief Minister Sangma, said that Meghalaya and specifically East Khasi Hills is ranked at number two in the country in the incidence of cancer cases. “When it comes to esophagus cancer, we are at the number one and this is how serious the problem is and that is why the government, the society and all of us have a very important responsibility in our shoulders to see that the number of cancer cases in the state come down and ensure that lives are saved and lifespan of the citizens increased,” he said.
He also informed that the approach of the government towards health of a person is looking at the entire lifespan of a person right from conception and not only at just providing treatment when a person is ill.
“Health starts right from the time of conception and largely depends on the lifestyle,” he added. He also informed that the annual budget allocated to Health in Meghalaya has doubled over the last few years. He further stated that the Meg Can Care programme was a great initiative by the department of Health to be able to really make a difference.
“We have to realize that a large part of health comes from lifestyle and early detection not only in cancer but all other diseases and I urge the citizens from Meghalaya especially East Khasi Hills that we need to take this seriously and if detected early 80 percent of cancer cases are curable hence it is absolutely necessary that screening and detection must take place,” he said.
The Chief Minister also informed that the screening under this program is technically advanced with a capable team handling the project and urged the citizens to make use of the early detection and screening program.
Earlier, Principal Secretary, Health, Sampat Kumar informed that only 16 per cent of cancer patients were aware that there is a screening process for cancer. “A lot of people are not aware that cancer can be screened early and if detected early 80 percent of the cases can be cured,” he said. He also informed that over 10 percent deaths that are occurring in the State due to non communicable diseases are due to cancer.
Earlier, the Chief Minister also launched the Cancer Helpline number 14410 and choose 5 for information on Cancer. He also flagged off the Cancer Ambassador cyclists.