Monday, May 20, 2024

Tobacco and Alcohol is leading cause of Cancer in India: Dr. Ankur Bahl

According to WHO, tobacco kills more than 1 million each year in India, which accounts for 9.5% of all deaths in the country. With a wide range of smoking forms and smokeless tobacco products, the tobacco problem in India is very deep-seated.
The number of Indians suffering from cancer is projected to increase to 29.8 million in 2025 from 26.7 million in 2021. The highest incidence last year was in the North (2,408 patients per 100,000) and the Northeast (2,177 per 100,000). It was higher among men.

According to a report by the Indian Council for Medical Research on the ‘Burden of cancers in India’, seven cancers accounted for more than 40% of the total disease burden: lung (10.6%), breast (10.5%), oesophagus (5.8%), mouth (5.7%), stomach (5.2%), liver (4.6%) and cervix uteri (4.3%).

Dr. Ankur Bahl, Senior Director Medical Oncology and Hemato-oncology at Fortis Memorial Research Hospital, Gurugram said “The increasing burden of cancer is quite worrisome. Mainly tobacco and alcohol consumption is considered the major reasons for cancer. The main reasons for the spike are delayed diagnosis and lack of access to holistic and supportive care. Only a fraction of patients finish the whole treatment due to financial constraints, alternative medicine approach, or disinformation about cancer being incurable. Moreover, the unavailability of cancer screening facilities, in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, is another key reason for the huge increase in cancer incidences. Additionally, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and environmental factors, tobacco and alcohol, contribute to the growth in cancer cases in the country”.

Consumption of tobacco is one of the most significant risk factor for head and neck cancer. Tobacco usage is connected to more than 85 percent of head and neck malignancies. The tobacco and alcohol use is linked to 70–80 percent of new head and neck cancer diagnosed. The risk of this disease is around ten times higher in smokers than in non-smokers. The risk of head and neck cancer can be minimized by quitting smoking and getting periodic check-up & screenings.

Head and neck cancer, which is one of the gradually emerging forms of cancer in India, constitutes a third of cancer burden and also a major public health problem in India.

Dr. Ankur Bahl further said that “ Early detection and subsequent prevention policies and programmes can reduce their numbers. Close to 60 per cent of global head and neck cancers occur in Asia especially in India. In India, over two third patients present with advanced disease as compared to 40 per cent in developed countries, fearing the cases may double by 2030.If people consult the oncologists and obtain the opinion early and are detected cancers at an early stage, several lives can be saved with maintaining high ‘quality of life’ following treatment”.
The country’s cancer burden can be lowered by enhancing government health services, including universal health coverage, health education, treatment compliance, and community-based early detection centres.

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