Dibrugarh (Assam): Tata Trusts chairman Ratan Tata on Thursday said that a network of 17 cancer care centres in Assam will make treatment accessible to all as it is not a “rich man’s disease”.

Speaking at the inauguration of seven such centres, Tata said with these facilities, Assam will be recognised as a state equipped to provide world-class cancer treatment.

“Today is an important day in the history of Assam. Higher level healthcare facility for cancer treatment which was earlier not available in the state is being brought here. Cancer is not a rich man’s disease,” he said.

“Assam can now say that even a small state of India has been equipped with world-class cancer treatment facilities,” Tata added.

Seven cancer care centres were inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion, while he also laid the foundation for seven more during the programme.

These centres are being developed by Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF), a joint venture of the state government and Tata Trusts. Another three hospitals under the network will be opened later this year.

The foundation for the project was laid in June 2018 while a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the state government during the ‘Advantage Assam’ — Global Investment Summit that year, giving shape to it.

Tata said the network of cancer care centres was a culmination of many months of hard work and praised Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his foresightedness. He also appreciated the Centre’s role in making the treatment centres a reality.

There is a high prevalence of cancer in Assam mainly due to consumption of smoked meat, tobacco and ‘tamul’ (areca nuts).

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