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Cancer fear stalks Hamidi village
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Hamidi (Barnala), May 10
Hamidi, known as the village of Chand Singh Chopra, a former CPM MLA, has been in the grip of cancer for the past 15 years. The state health authorities have done little to rid the village of the stigma of the fatal disease.

About 10 persons have reportedly lost their lives due to cancer since 1985-86. Another four persons, including a 13-year-old boy, are struggling for life. However, some villagers, including the present Sarpanch of the village, claim that 18 persons have died due to cancer in the village and six persons are suffering from the disease.

Ved Pal, son of Mr Balwinder Kumar (shopkeeper), a 13-year-old student of Class VIII, has been suffering from bone cancer since July, 2001. The disease is in the last stages. He is the youngest cancer patient of the village. Ved Palís disease started from the arm and has now spread to his eyes and lungs.

Talking to TNS, Ved Palís father said now the life of his son was in the hands of The Almighty. He said he had got his son treated from Barnala, Patiala, Ludhiana and Bikaner so far, due to which he was now almost empty-handed and had little in his hand to get his son treated.

Mr Harbans Singh (60-plus), a retired teacher, is another surviving patient of cancer in the village. He has been suffering from prostate cancer since 1999. He could not be contacted as he was away to Ludhiana. However, his daughter, Ranjit Kaur, said her father often felt uneasiness due to the disease. He had been getting treatment from the CMC, Ludhiana, she added.

Mrs Harbans Kaur (35) has been suffering from breast cancer since February, 2001. She has been getting treatment from the SSP Medical College, Bikaner.

Mr Kapoor Singh (70) was also a cancer patient but he is now fully cured as his disease was detected in the early stages. He was operated upon for oral cavity cancer.

Sources said one or two patients of the village were also reportedly suffering from cancer. But they could not be contacted for confirmation.

Dr Gobind Singh Sidhu, Medical Officer (MO) and Incharge, Mini Primary Health Centre (PHC), Hamidi, confirmed four cases of cancer, including one cured patient, in the village. He said about the remaining two patients he could not comment as they had not come to him for treatment.

Dr Sidhu said in the past 15 years as per his information, nine persons had died due to cancer in the village. They were: A woman, wife of Mr Chhota Singh and Hamir Kaur, wife of Mr Gurdial Singh, (both died of uterus cancer about 16 years ago); Joginder Singh (65), an ex-serviceman (died about 10 years ago from oral cavity cancer); Jangir Singh (65), a farmer (died four years ago also from oral cavity cancer); Harjinder Singh (50), a farmer (died about six years ago from oral cavity cancer); Beebo (46), a housewife (died of uterus cancer four years ago); Dalip Kaur (55), a housewife (died of uterus cancer about eight years ago); Surinder Kaur, a housewife (died six years ago due to oral cavity cancer); and a woman (45), wife of Mr Joginder Singh (died of uterus cancer one-and-half-years ago.

Dr Sidhu said no specific causes could be given for the disease. He admitted that no cancer detection camp had been organised in the village. He also said all cancer patients, dead or alive, belonged to the general category. Besides, not more than one patient of cancer had been found in any family, he added.

Mr Jagroop Singh, Sarpanch of the village, told TNS that at present the village had seven to eight cancer patients. However, he could not give the names of all of them. He also claimed that about 20 persons had died of cancer in the past 15 to 20 years. He said his father had also been a patient of cancer. But had been cured and died a natural death. He also demanded that the government should organise cancer detection camps in the village.

Mr Baldev Raj Gupta, SMO, Civil Hospital, Dhanaula, has asked the Hamidi Mini PHC Incharge to conduct special door-to-door survey soon for the detection of cancer patients and their actual number. 
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