RAISING the alarm, the medical experts, based on the findings of a union ministry report, have warned that if people of Kashmir don’t change their lifestyle, there will see an upsurge in cancer cases in coming years.
Quoting the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Cancer Registry Data on “National Cancer Registry Programme Report 2020”, the health experts paint a grim picture of the rising number of cancer cases and subsequent death in Jammu and Kashmir.
The report notes a total of 21,016 cancer casualties during the period of 2018 to 2020 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Further, the report reveals that there will be a 12 percent increase in cancer cases across India in five years. “Cancer cases in India will increase to 15.7 lakh by 2025, based on current trends,” it said.
Dr. Nazir Ahmad Khan, the Co-Principal Investigator who prepared the report, said that men mostly died of lung, mouth, stomach and oesophagus cancers, while women fell to breast and cervix cancers, between 2018 and 2020.
“Earlier we didn’t have any thyroid related cancers but the cancer scenario has changed because of a group of factors – like lifestyle, food habits, age, population, etc,” Dr. Khan, Prof., Department of Radiation Oncology, SKIMS, told Kashmir Observer.
According to a data, Srinagar tops the chart in the cancer cases in Kashmir (24%), followed by Anantnag (12.86%),Baramulla (12.60%),Budgam (9.49%),Pulwama(9.14 %),Kulgam (5.93%),Kupwara(5.61%),Ganderbal (4.56%),Bandipora (4.17%) and Shopian (3.94%).
“The cancer cases also depend on population and connection in the area,” Dr. Khan said. “The Srinagar is congested and has more population and thus more cases.”
Over 11% of cancers are related to genetics and an unbalanced diet, the medico said. The patients get the interaction with the disease at the age of 30 but the cancer gets fully developed at the age of 50 years, Dr. Khan said.
“We mostly see middle or old-age patients, but a sizable number of young patients are also there,” said Dr. Sheikh Zahoor Ahmad, another oncologist from SKIMS.
The profile of cancer in Kashmir is matching with the Western countries, Dr. Zahoor said. “Earlier most of the cancers would be related to oesophagus and lung. Now it is changing and we are witnessing the same cases of cancer that are prevalent in the West which means we are copying their lifestyle.”
Apart from cancer, he said, diseases like diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), mostly found in the West are on the rise in Kashmir as well.
“These diseases are related to lifestyle, physical activity and food habits,” Dr. Zahoor said. “We are matching the West, so is our disease profile.”
According to the Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) more than a third of all cancers could be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
“There is a growing body of evidence that physical activity helps to maintain a healthy weight that would assist in reducing the risk of various types of cancers,” said Dr. Nisar-ul-Hassan, President Doctors Association.
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