Survey reveals high incidence of cancer cases in Arunachal Pradesh

Expressing concern over high rate of cancer incidences in Arunachal Pradesh
Survey reveals high incidence of cancer cases in Arunachal Pradesh


ITANAGAR: Expressing concern over high rate of cancer incidences in Arunachal Pradesh, National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR) director Dr Prashant Mathur on Wednesday informed that the monitoring survey of cancer-risk factors and health system response (MSCRFHSR) was conducted to provide the society, policy makers and decision makers in particular, data about what is fueling the cancer burden in the State.

Dr Mathur was virtually addressing a function here in which the survey report was released by State's Health & Family Welfare (H&FW) principal secretary Dr Sharat Chauhan.

"Cancer incidence will not decrease in future unless we reduce the risk factors drastically," Dr Mathur said and gave three recommendations for the State Government to consider, including to notify cancer as a notifiable disease; to work closely with cancer registries as part of cancer intelligence system in the State to strengthen cancer registries through State investment for collecting and analyzing cancer data timely; and strengthening secondary and tertiary health care services within the State to reduce the number of patients seeking treatment outside the State.

Dr Chauhan, in his address, stressed on the need to change lifestyles and eating habits, particularly consumption of tobacco and alcohol.

"The habit of consuming smoked and fermented foods and living beside the fireplace with smoke may not be possible to change overnight and report of such study may convince the mass to change their behaviour and lifestyle," Dr Chauhan said, and assured to the consider recommendations of Dr Mathur.

Director of Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (TRIHMS) Dr Moji Jini advocated more such research projects by involving faculty and students of the medical college.

Highlighting the report, principal investigator-cum-joint director (Medical Education) Dr Sopai Tawsik informed that prevalence of current tobacco use (smoked or smokeless) in the State is 36.1 per cent, while that in case of smokeless tobacco use is 24 per cent. Over a quarter 28.7 per cent of current tobacco users (smoked or smokeless) were daily users. The mean age of initiation of use of tobacco was 18.3 years, while average duration of tobacco use among past smokers was 14.8 years, he said.

"Only 22.7 per cent of the smoked tobacco users had made self-attempts to quit smoking and 3.3 per cent had been advised to quit tobacco use by doctors and health workers," he said, adding that over half of the respondents (57.9 per cent) reported exposure to second-hand tobacco smoking, either at home, during travel or at the work place.

About 12.6 per cent of respondents were current users of non-tobacco betel products in the form of pan masala, betel quid or areca nut and use of areca nut (7.6 per cent) was highest among current users, Dr Tawsik informed.

"Over 1/3rd respondents (36.7 per cent) had consumed alcohol over past 12 months, while over a quarter (27.4 per cent) had consumed alcohol over the past 30 days. The mean age of initiation of alcohol use was 17.7 years," he said.

Among those who consumed alcohol in the past 12 months, 9.6 per cent were daily users and 3.5 per cent felt the need for a drink first thing in the morning every day. 11.5 per cent of the respondents engaged in heavy episodic drinking and only 2.2 per cent of the respondents had been advised to quit alcohol use by doctors and health workers, Dr Tawsik added.

"While giving detailed current health system scenario of the State, the survey conducted in Population Based Cancer Registry (PBCR) areas of the State reiterated the need for mass awareness on cancer and strengthening health care system for effective treatment," Dr Tawsik said.

H&FW special secretary Vivek H, health services director Dr M Lego and cancer control programme nodal officer Dr Shyam Tsering were present in the event.

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