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North Eastern region has been dubbed as the “cancer capital of India” on account of lifestyle, low awareness and late detection that has led to rise in number of cases of the disease.
Making this observation while speaking to media persons ahead of the Continuing Medical Education (CME) on common cancers of North East India programme at Eden Medical Centre Saturday, director of Dr. Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) Guwahati Dr. AC Kataki lamented that the reason for the region being dubbed as “cancer capital” arose from the fact that it alone added about 39,635 cancer patients in a year.
According to earlier reports published by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), under its National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP), Aizawl in Mizoram and Papumpare in Arunachal Pradesh were recorded as districts with the highest age adjusted cancer incidence rate in the country.
The programme at Eden Medical Centre was organized to reach out to fellow doctors in the North East to collaborate and tackle the growing threat of cancer in the region.
Dr.Kakati also cited Population Based Cancer Registry (PBCR) of Indian Council of Medical Research, where incidents of cancer in North East vary from 150 to 200 per lakh of the population as against the national average of 80-110.
He said Nasopharynx, stomach and Oesophagus cancer were highest among males while cervix, breast, and stomach cancer were the highest amongst females in the region.
While highlighting the major causes for cancer in the region, Dr. Kataki emphasized the need for oral visual examination every three years, self-breast examination in women and the importance in genital hygiene, which has led to a gradual decline in cervical cancer in the country.
Dwelling on the cancer scenario in Nagaland, Dr. Kataki said tobacco-related cancer constitutes 39.6% of all cancers in males and 12.6% in females.
Fortunately, the prevalence of tobacco consumption in Nagaland has dropped from 56.8% in 2010 to 43.3% in 2017. The burden of cancer in Nagaland as against its population of 19,80,602 is 1,278 every year, he said.
While appreciating the Dr. Lima Imchen, director of Eden Medical Centre, for making it possible for the people of the state to avail the state-of-the-art cancer care facilities at Dimapur, Dr. Kataki was also hopeful that such infrastructure and facilities would also be made available in other parts of the state.
Due to lack of adequate facilities in the state, Dr. Kataki said 78 percent of cancer patients in Nagaland had to travel outside the state for treatment as compared to a meagre 6.6 percent in the neighbouring Assam. With an aim to augment cancer facilities in Nagaland, Kataki informed that BBCI has offered Post Graduate Fellowship Programme to doctors to 10 doctors from the state.
Director of National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR), ICMR, Dr Prashant Mathur also spoke on the role of cancer registries in quality of cancer care. He highlighted the importance of systematic data collection for comparison of standard of care across the country, and to help formulate plans and strategies to prevent and cure cancer.
He pointed out the NCDIR was the only source of reliable data and the organization assist the Ministry of Health to formulate programs.
But to make an impact on a larger scale, he said there was a need to join hands with different hospitals. Currently there are eight hospitals across India which uses software provided by NCDIR to help collect and streamline data, he said.
Pointing out that tobacco accounted for about 40 percent of cancer cases, Dr Mathur stressed on the need to implement Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) in spirit.
He therefore urged media and civil society organizations to spread awareness in this regard. Dr. Mathur also informed that PBCR for Dimapur and Nagaland was established in 2010 with 50 sources of registration.
Other highlights of CME were deliberations on management of breast cancer by Dr Joydeep Purkayastha, evidence based management by Dr. Debrata Barmon, Dr Navin Nayan and Gaurav Kumar spoke on various aspects of management of nasopharngeal and lung cancer.
Five oncologists from DBBCI and director of NCDIR (ICMR), Bengaluru also spoke about the epidemiology of Cancer in the North East, the need for a more comprehensive cancer registry, and gave presentations on different types of cancer.
The event was jointly organized by Dr. B.Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati and National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR) Bengaluru, in association with Eden Medical Centre and the Dimapur chapter of Indian Medical Association.
Dr. Moatoshi Aier on behalf of Eden Medical Centre thanked all the recourse persons who spoke on the occasion and the Dimapur chapter of the Indian Medical Association for associating with Eden Medical Centre to organize the Continuing Medical Education.
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