ROHAN SHRIVASTAV | NT
Cancer has consistently been claiming close to 1,000 lives every year for the last three years and has turned out to be one of the major killer diseases in Goa.
The lethal combination of tobacco and alcohol consumption accounts for 30 per cent of all new cancer cases registered in the state every year. These cases are followed by breast cancer (23 per cent), while colorectal cancer accounts for nine per cent of the cancer cases.
Dr R G Wiseman Pinto, professor and head of pathology department at the Goa Medical College and an expert in cytology, said the rising cancer cases in the state could be attributed to change in lifestyle of the Goans.
He said that oral cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer found in men who are smokers and who consume smokeless tobacco.
“The different cancers caused due to the consumption of tobacco and alcohol include cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Cigarette smoking also can cause cancers of the lung and larynx,” he explained.
He further said that alcohol consumption can also cause cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, stomach, kidney, and liver, which is common in Goa.
As per the medical records with the government, in 2016 the cancer of digestive organs claimed the lives of 286 people – 179 were men and 107 women.
Seventy people died due to stomach cancer, while the cancer of liver and intra-hepatic bile ducts claimed 67 lives. The cancer of lip, oral cavity and pharynx claimed the lives of 123
persons, of which 86 were men and 37 women.
A total of 100 people died due to the cancer of respiratory and intra-thoracic organs – 79 died due to the cancer of trachea, bronchus and lungs, while the others died due to the cancer of larynx.
Lung cancer has been diagnosed even in non-smokers: these are mainly the workers who work in industrial units and mines where they are exposed to smoke.
Surprisingly even women are vulnerable to lung cancer.
“Lung cancer among women cannot be only attributed to passive smoking. The women in India today also smoke due to which they are at risk of having lung cancer,” said Dr Gunjan Baijal MD (radiation oncology), Manipal Hospital.
Breast cancer accounts for 23 per cent of the new cases and cervix cancer reports 9.8 per cent; ovaries cancer are 4.8 per cent of all new cancer detected in Goa every year.
In 2016, 88 persons died due to malignant neoplasms of bone, mesothelial (lining cells) and soft tissue, skin, and breast – 81 patients were females while seven were males. Of the total women victims, 76 fell victim to breast cancer alone.
The deaths caused by the cancer of genitourinary organs have been pegged at 161, out of which 51 persons died due to cancer of ovaries, while cancer of cervix uteri claimed 25 lives.
Dr Pinto attributed the rise in breast cancer to late marriage, delayed pregnancy (after 30 years), fewer children and lack of breastfeeding to the babies.
“Ovarian cancer has genetic factors, and most of the times the causes are not known as there are various reasons… Cervix cancer is caused by bad hygiene, viral infection and girls getting married at an early age or having many sexual partners,” he explained.
On colorectal cancer, he said the people who regularly consume red meat like beef, mutton and pork are at the risk of this particular disease.
“The red meat when consumed remains in the intestine for a longer period of time. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are fiber which passes out faster. There are not many cancer causing chemicals in fruits and vegetables,” Dr Pinto said.