The train carrying cancer patients from the Malwa region of Punjab to Rajasthan will become history with Bathinda Advanced Cancer Institute getting a Rs 25-crore linear accelerator machine for treatment.
Inaugurating the machine at the institute on Friday, Punjab health minister Brahm Mohindra said linear accelerator is a device most commonly used for external beam radiation treatments for cancer patients. It is used to treat all parts/organs of the body. It delivers high-energy X-rays or electrons to the region of the patient’s tumor.
The machine is meant to provide advanced treatment to cancer patients wherein only the cancer-affected cells of body are destroyed and the healthy cells are spared. It results in easier and sooner recovery of the patient thereby minimizing trauma. This advanced treatment is available free of cost, said the minister.
Malwa, dubbed as the “cancer belt” of Punjab, has the highest average of 136 cancer patients per 1 lakh people, which is exceeding the national average of 80 per lakh. The unusually high incidence, especially in the cotton-growing districts of south-western Punjab, has been linked to the use of pesticides by cotton farmers, among other factors. Malwa consumes 75% of the pesticides used in Punjab, according to a study conducted by the State Council for Science and Technology.
With no state-of-the art treatment facility available in Bathinda for cancer, around 100 cancer patients board a 12-coach train, also known as the cancer train, to Rajasthan’s Bikaner, 325km from Bathinda.
Source: Hindustan Times