Cancer among top five leading causes of death in Arunachal 


In an ICMR-NCDIR survey report it is revealed that cancer is one of the top five leading causes of death in Arunachal Pradesh, where one out of four persons in Papum Pare district alone has a chance to develop cancer in his/her lifetime in between 0-74 years.

According to the reports of the National Cancer Registry Programme, the incidence, mortality, and cumulative risk of developing cancer has been consistently high in the Northeast region.

The report says, “As per data collected from the population-based cancer registries (PBCR) at the Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences in Naharlagun and the Bakin Pertin General Hospital in Pasighat the leading sites of cancer among men include cancer of the stomach, liver, lung and oesophagus, while in women, cervix, stomach and breast comprise the leading cancer sites.”

The PBCRs were established in 2011 with 40 and 65 sources of registrations, respectively.

Some of the key findings of the survey are high intake of preserved, salted, fermented, and smoked foods; high use of chewing tobacco; high exposure to second-hand smoke at home and workplace; and poor health system response and preparedness.

The report states that there is “low screening of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension and common cancers, poor health treatment seeking behaviour, majority of cancer patients seeking cancer treatment outside the state, and high out-of-pocket expenses in cancer treatment.”

The report, however, does not elaborate how non-communicable diseases (NCD) are linked to cancer.

It points out that the rate of tobacco (both smoke and smokeless) use is 36.1 percent, while 45.2 percent of the adults are exposed to second-hand smoke at home, and another 45.2 percent at workplaces.

The report states that the percentage of women who underwent screening for breast cancer is 0.4, while the percentage of women who underwent screening for cervical cancer is 0.1 percent.

The report further states that the rate of cancer patients seeking treatment outside the state is 60 percent, out of which 100 percent of rural patients manage their treatment cost by themselves, or by taking loans, or by selling assets.

The survey was undertaken as a part of cancer research in the Northeast region, a multidisciplinary programme run by the ICMR-NCDIR, Bengaluru, to prevent and control cancer in the Northeastern states.


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