Thiruvananthapuram: National Cancer Awareness Day will be observed across the country on November 7 every year, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan announced.
"Henceforth, November 7 will be observed all over the country as National Cancer Awareness Day. It is high time we went into combative mode against this disease," he said.
Vardhan, who declared the Regional Cancer Centre here as upgraded into the State Cancer Institute, said there were 2.9 million cases of cancer in the country with 1.1 million new cases being reported annually.
Two-thirds of cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, reducing patients' chances of survival, he said, according to an official release.
Vardhan praised Kerala government's proposed Suhurtham scheme, which makes cancer treatment free in district and medical college hospitals.
"I agree that this is a noble idea and I will try my best to back it for adoption all over the country under the 13th Plan. In the meantime, I will consider including it under the universal health insurance component of the proposed Universal Health Assurance Programme," he said.