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The prevalence of cancer in Goa has witnessed a substantial rise, the latest study has revealed indicating that in the last 26 years the incidence has increased by almost 45 persons per one lakh population.

The incidence of crude cancer which includes the deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs)  – a measure of how much of a fully productive life is cut short by different cancers – was found prevalent among 52.5 persons per one lakh population in the year 1990, and it has since increased to 97 in 2016.

Analysis of data from the first-ever state-level disease burden study published in ‘The Lancet Oncology’ on September 12, 2018, has revealed that Goa, despite being one of the smallest states of the country, has been ranked sixth in the list of  the highest crude cancer incidence rate.

Kerala tops the chart and Mizoram comes second on the list, followed by Haryana, Delhi, Karnataka and then Goa.

As per the findings of the study, the death rate due to crude cancer mortality incidence in 2016 was 58.7 persons per one lakh population among females, while the incidence rate was 111.8 persons.

Among males, the death rate was 54.6 persons per one lakh population, while the incidence rate was 82.7 persons.

The study states that out of the different cancers diagnosed in Goa, breast cancer is the major killer among females followed by cervical cancer and colon and rectum cancer.

Lung cancer is the topmost killer for male population, followed by lip and oral cavity cancer.

Colon and rectum cancers come at third place in killing the men.

The study throws light on the interplay of tobacco and alcohol – the two risk factors to which the highest proportion of cancer DALYs could be attributed.

Both these risk factors contribute to a variable extent to lip and oral cavity, oesophageal, larynx, and liver cancers.

The study concludes that the increasing overall contribution of cancer to disease burden in India should motivate more systematic and large-scale approaches to reduce this burden at the population level across the country.

These efforts should include improved human resources and infrastructure for prevention, screening, treatment, and palliative care for cancers, as well as adequate financial protection for cancer care.

Soumya Swaminathan and Lalit Dandona, who are joint first authors among others for the study, have suggested that these approaches should focus at least on the ten cancers that contribute the highest DALYs in India –  stomach, breast, lung, lip and oral cavity, pharynx other than nasopharynx, colon and rectum, leukaemia, cervical, oesophageal, and brain, and nervous system cancers.


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