LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced providing free of cost medicines to the cancer patients for which the government will allocate Rs1.5 billion under a phased programme.Addressing a function held in connection with World Cancer Day at a local hotel, on Tuesday, the chief minister said that cancer patients and their families have to face a lot of pain and sufferings and the government would make its best efforts to ensure that no deserving cancer patient remains deprived of medicines due to lack of resources. The CM also announced the project of cancer hospital in the province and said that Punjab government will provide land and machinery for the hospital. He directed that health authorities and medical experts should present practicable recommendations for the cancer hospital project on which immediate progress will be made by the government. Announcing the cancer hospital project to be executed with the cooperation between Punjab government and NOVARTIS, the chief minister said that the agony and hardships faced by cancer patients and their families are not hard to understand. Narrating his personal experience as a cancer patient for the first time, the chief minister said that in 2003, when he was in Jeddah, a tumor was detected in his stomach. He said that an Egyptian doctor after check- up performed surgery and he shifted to his house next day but after some days, it was disclosed that the tumor was malignant. Shahbaz Sharif said that he was taken to a New York hospital where the doctor expressed surprise that the surgery had been performed without biopsy. He said that he had to undergo a surgery again. The chief minister said Allah Almighty gave him a new life and he felt it was to serve the ailing humanity. The chief minister further said indeed it is hope that keeps the cancer patients alive. He thanked NOVARTIS and said that provision of free medicines to the cancer patients by the company is a big gift which would give them hope. Shahbaz Sharif reiterated his determination that he would continue to serve the people of the province as their Khadim as long as he was alive. He said that he had also planned a cancer hospital in the province during his last tenure but he was informed that it was not practicable as it involved a lot of expenditure.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 05-Feb-2014 here.