The first phase of the Maharashtra government's scheme to provide free chemotherapy treatment to cancer patients will be rolled out in Gadchiroli, Amravati, and Jalgaon from July 1, a Health official said today. The official said a decision on including Pune or Wardha in the first phase is yet to be taken. "Training of medical staff has been completed for both the districts, but Pune has better medical infrastructure than Wardha. So, the department is contemplating whether to include Wardha in the first phase," he said. The official also said that training of medical staff had been completed at Mumbai's Tata Memorial Centre, a premier cancer treatment facility. The free chemotherapy treatment scheme was announced by the state government in April this year. The government had shortlisted Nagpur, Gadchiroli, Pune, Amravati, Jalgaon, Nashik, Wardha, Satara, Bhandara and Akola districts. The scheme aims to alleviate the problems of cancer patients who currently have to travel to Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai for chemotherapy sessions that typically last for six weeks. State Health Minister Deepak Sawant had said the initiative would help patients save in lodging and travelling expenses. According to the National Cancer Registry Programme, 11 lakh people are diagnosed with cancer every year across the country. The total number of cancer patients stood at around 28 lakh, as per the National Cancer Registry Programme data. Five lakh cancer-afflicted people die annually, it said.