Cancer on rise in J&K: GIT cancers most common, smoking, pollution, change in lifestyle main causes, say experts

‘Oral cancers likely to increase, curb cancer rate by changing lifestyle’

Srinagar, Feb 03: Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide while the cases of disease are exponentially increasing in J&K.

Officials said that in the last three years (2019 to 2021) the UT has reported 39,041 cancer cases and around 22,000 persons have died in UT in three years from 2018-20.

They said that stomach cancer was the most commonly reported cancer (25.2%), followed by colorectal cancer (16.4%) and lung cancer (13.2%) among males. For females, colorectal cancer (16.8%), breast cancer (16.1%), and stomach cancer (10.4%) were the most frequently reported cancers in order of frequency.

Professor Sanaullah Kuchay Head of Department, Radiation Oncology, GMC Srinagar while talking with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that since 1994 there has been an exponential increase in cancer cases in J&K.

He said that as per data there is a persistent rise in cancer in UT and lung cancer is most common in J&K.

“If we get collective cancers, organ specific, the GIT forms around 60 percent of our bulk. The GIT includes esophagus, stomach, colorectal cancers,” he said.

Kuchay said that though Kashmir being a health resort there are many reasons and the most important is that around 25 percent of the population has become smokers which has direct relation with lungs.

“Besides, pollution is the other reason behind it as there are some pollutants in the air which can cause cancer. This needs to be addressed,” he said.

Kuchay said that earlier colorectal cancers were reported in elderly people only but now such cancers are found in younger people as well due to change in lifestyle.

“People are taking a lot of red meat, do low exercise, eat less fruits and vegetables due to which colorectal cancers are reported in young people who are of age 20 which was otherwise found in people above 50,” he said.

“In order to curb cancer rate, We have to change our lifestyle that is we have to leave sedentary lifestyle, complete ban on smoking and people must take lot of fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin A and vitamin C,” he said, adding cooking and diet system needs to be changed and salt tea must be used as low as possible and never drink hot tea besides that ripening agents must be banned and colouring agents must be avoided or used under limits.

Dr Sheikh Zahoor Ahmad from Department of Oncology at SKIMS said that with change in lifestyle, the profile of cancer has started to change in J&K and g junction cancer has increased now due to obesity.

Zahoor said that the number of such cancers related to our lifestyle have started increasing and we are expecting in coming years oral cancer is likely to become common cancer in J&K due to smoking.

“Factors that can increase your risk of mouth cancer include tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others and heavy alcohol use,” he said—(KNO)