Tobacco use main cause of cancer: Expert

Agartala: High prevalence of smoking and tobacco use are the main cause of cancer in the eight states of India’s northeastern region, a scientist said here on Thursday.

“Though smoking, high use of tobacco and tobacco products are the main cause of cancer in India’s northeastern region, there are some other reasons for the increase of the dreaded disease in the region,” Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scientist Prabhdeep Kaur told reporters here.

She said that to get a detailed picture of the causes of the cancer and its rise, the ICMR has launched a study in all the eight northeast region. The study has already begun in Sikkim, Mizoram and Tripura, she said, adding it would soon start in other states as well.

Kaur and five other experts attended at a four day workshop here on National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS).

Tripura regional cancer institute in-charge Gautam Majumder said that the NPCDCS, launched recently by the union health and family welfare ministry, would cover 640 districts in 36 states and union territories across the country by 2017.

Kaur said that in India cancer is the main killer disease after heart attack and stroke. She said these can be checked if the people undergo a health checkup on regular basis, and carry out carry physical exercises and keep a check on their lifestyle and food habits.

ICMR has set up Cancer Registries in the northeast under the NCRP (National Cancer Registry Programme).

The ICMR scientist said that earlier provided data showed the high prevalence of certain types of cancers in the northeast region.

“Multicentric studies have been initiated by ICMR to find out the genetic factors, in addition to common environmental exposures, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, pesticide exposure and dietary habits which could possibly explain the high prevalence of certain cancers in northeast India which forms the basis of the current studies,” she added.

Neorology expert Sanjith Aaron said that in India one person in every six dies of heart attack.

“Heart and brain stroke caused by unchecked blood pressure and hypertensions are the main cause of most disabilities in our country.”

Majumder said that the union government has recently sanctioned Rs.120 crore to develop cancer treatment in different government hospitals in Tripura.