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Cancer Treatment Is Free In Govt Hospitals, Yet Poor Patients Drop Out

December 9, 2020
Seven of the northeastern states report a higher cancer burden than the Indian average.
India recorded 80-110 cancer cases per 100,000 people according to data for 2012-14, but in its northeastern states, this number varied between 150-200 cases per 100,000, according to the ICMR.
The health infrastructure in most of these states is not equipped to treat this caseload, which forces poor patients like Arshik to travel long distances for treatment.
Road travel in hilly terrain can be treacherous for anyone in frail health, and most poor patients travel to Assam by bus, train and shared cab.
Cancer-care facilities are limited to a handful of major cities, and the poorest patients have to make long, arduous journeys to tertiary care facilities for proper diagnosis or medical care.
In addition to specialised medical care, cancer patients need clean surroundings to avoid secondary infections. These are not always and readily available, as our reporting from Guwahati showed.