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Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Minister for Health, told the Lok Sabha on Friday that the estimated number of cancer cases in the nation in 2020 was 13,92,179, and that it is expected to rise by 12.8%. He based this information on data from the National Cancer Registry Program.

In response to a question, Mandaviya stated that patients with cancer receive care at a variety of medical facilities, including district hospitals, medical schools, governmental institutions like AIIMS, and private hospitals.

According to Mandaviya, the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) offers financial aid to low-income patients from families that are below the poverty line who have serious life-threatening illnesses and need medical care at one of the super specialty hospitals or institutes or other public hospitals.

Under the Health Minister's Cancer Patient Fund (a component of RAN), 216. 98 lakh was utilised for 40 beneficiaries as on December 5, 2022, in the 2022-23 fiscal.

During the previous fiscal year, 64 beneficiaries received 585.05 lakh, while 196 patients received 1,573 lakh in 2020–21 and 470 patients received 2,677.08 lakh in 2019–20, according to him.

The poor and the needy can receive cancer treatment in government hospitals for no cost or at a significant discount. The "Strengthening of Tertiary Cancer Care Centers Facilities Scheme," a centrally sponsored programme, is being implemented by the central government as well in order to improve the facilities for tertiary cancer care.

20 Tertiary Cancer Care Centers (TCCCs) and 19 State Cancer Institutes (SCIs) have thus far received approval under the programme. According to the minister, the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY) is focusing on developing oncology facilities in all of their forms for new AIIMS and many upgraded institutions.

All 22 AIIMS have been designed with a cancer treatment facility. Modern facilities for medical, surgical, and diagnostic care are available at these AIIMS. In 13 state government medical colleges that have been selected for upgrade through PMSSY, cancer treatment facilities have also been planned.

The establishment of the National Cancer Institute in Jhajjar (Haryana) and the second campus of the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in Kolkata are additional steps to improve the nation's ability to treat cancer, Mandaviya said.

The Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana provides access to cancer treatment as well (PMJAY). Additionally, under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) and in partnership with the state governments, high-quality generic drugs are made accessible to everyone at low prices.

Mandaviya further added that in order to provide cancer medications at a significant discount compared to the maximum retail price, Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) Pharmacy stores have been established in some hospitals and institutions.

(With inputs from PTI)

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