Cancer in Punjab: evidence from cancer atlas
Cancer in Punjab has been a news item in the recent past. It was thought that cases in Punjab exceeded the national average and felt that “Punjab the country’s food bowl was in throes of cancer” (1). This presumption was perhaps incorrect. In order to have clarity on the issue, we aimed to review the report of Cancer Atlas in Punjab state for the year 2012-13, recently released by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The main idea of generating data through Cancer Atlas approach is to assess patterns of cancer in various parts of Punjab state and to estimate cancer incidence at various districts in Punjab. The sources of data collection in the state are all medical colleges, pathology labs, civil hospitals and individual oncologist throughout the state. These data collection sources are considered important as over 80-85% of registered cases of cancer are generally with a microscopic diagnosis (2). Patient data details in the Atlas approach included are Cancer site and morphology of the cancer as per guidelines for collecting information on all malignant cases. The similar approach that adopted in Cancer Atlas in India such as internet approach is used in entering core patient data for Punjab Atlas by standardized procedures.