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Meet on arsenic, cancer risk

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 Dec 2017 12:00 AM GMT

GUWAHATI, Dec 9: The Department of Cancer Registry and Epidemiology (CRE) at Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) on Saturday hosted a brainstorming session in the institute to discuss the possible role of arsenic in causation of high incidences of cancer in the State.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Ashok Ghosh, Professor and Head of Cancer Research, Mahavir Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Pat, Amalendu Bikash Paul, former Chief Engineer & Director (R&D), Technology Incubation Company at IIT-Guwahati, representatives from IIT Guwahati, doctors and researchers of BBCI.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Amal Chandra Kataki, Director of BBCI, said environmental factors like contamition of water, soil, and food chain with arsenic should be established first. A grave threat to public health origites from arsenic contamited groundwater. Intertiol Agency for Research on Cancer has classified arsenic as a carcinogen or potential risk factor for cancers of skin, uriry bladder, and lungs, he said.

According to Dr. Ghosh, prelimiry sample surveys of water in certain areas of lbari district have shown higher levels of arsenic beyond permissible limit and high prevalence of Arsenicosis, a chronic illness resulting from drinking water with high levels of arsenic over a long period of time and manifested in the skin of affected individuals’. These findings point towards the existing ill health effects of groundwater arsenic in the affected population, he said. Dr. Manigreeva Krishtreya, Medical Officer at the Department of CRE, mentioned the presence of geographical ‘hot spots’ of gall bladder cancer that might be due to the presence of high levels of arsenic in the groundwater of these regions. Cancer hot spots are areas with low population density with relatively large number of cancer patients. These geographical cancer ‘hot spots’ were identified by using cancer patient’s addresses and alyzed by Geographical Information System, he added.

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