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Terror fades away, cancer on rise in J&K
2/26/2015 1:03:16 PM
Syed Junaid Hashmi
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Feb 25: With terror incidents waning away, Jammu and Kashmir is now witnessing rise in cancer cases at an exceptionally alarming rate.
From 11,052 patients who reported in the year 2011, the figure has reached 11, 815 by the end of December 2014. Though this is just an increase of 673 patients in the last three years but the number has consistently remained around 11,000 patients during the last three years which is not only painful but alarming since this peaks in volumes about failure of government in tackling this menace. They have cared little about disseminating information about this killer disease and remained more concerned about counting the dead.
And if the official data is to be believed, around 19, 792 deaths due to cancer were reported by various hospitals during the last four years. State government miserably failed in tackling this menace since it neither has infrastructure nor well-trained required staff. Official data reveals that deaths due to this disease are on rise because of lack of facilities for early detection. Those who are screened for this dreaded disease have to pay heavily.
Since the tests are too costly, patients hesitate and this is also contributing to the late detection of the disease and subsequently leading to increase in mortality rate. As far as mortality cancer cases are concerned, the number was 4703 in 2011 and the same increased to 4863 in 2012 and 5028 in 2013. During the year 2014, 7000 mortality cases were reported from across the state.
According to the data, the number of prostate cancer cases in Jammu and Kashmir during 2011 was 344 and the same increased to 366 in 2012, 390 in 2013 and 515 in 2014. Official data further indicates that there were 144 deaths due to prostate cancer in Jammu and Kashmir during 2011 and the number surged to 154 in 2012, 164 in 2013 and 174 in 2014. According to the Union Health Ministry report, the rise in the number of Cancer cases may be attributed to larger number of ageing population, unhealthy life styles, use of tobacco and tobacco products, unhealthy diet and in most cases, the non-availability of better diagnostic facilities.
Report further says that the majority of cases now occur in low- and middle-income families. It has added that the most common cancers (malignancies of the breast, colon or prostate) have the best potential treatment options, whereas cancers most common in low-income families (cancers of the liver, stomach or oesophagus) are harder to treat. The report maintains that there are actions that can be taken in low- and middle-income countries. It adds that vaccinations against human papillomavirus and hepatitis B and C can help stop the rise of cervical and liver cancers.
Biggest concern that oncologists in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in the country have is rising incidences of cancer among younger generation. While there has not been any conclusive research on the causes of cancer in India, doctors attribute it to increased pollution, unhealthy lifestyle, increased consumption of chemicals in the form of food and medicine. Oncologists rue lack of world class facilities in Jammu and Kashmir for increasing cancer related problems.
Report has added that government of India had launched a comprehensive National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS) in 2010 with focus on 3 sites namely breast, cervical and oral Cancer. Under NPCDCS, interventions up to district level include measures for Cancer prevention. In addition, the Government of India under "Strengthening of Tertiary Care of Cancer" scheme of NPCDCS will assist 20 State Cancer Institutes (SCI) and 50 Tertiary Care Cancer Centres (TCCC) in different parts of the country.
The SCIs and TCCCs have been tasked with mentoring all Cancer related activities in their respective areas including activities for prevention of Cancer. Messages for prevention of Cancer are also disseminated through central government hospitals in different parts of the country.
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