Jamshedpur, July 7: Frequent use of tobacco and lack of hygiene among people, and overall degradation in environmental pollution levels, have thrown up an alarming statistic: the number of cancer cases are rising in Jamshedpur and its adjoining areas.
The Meherbai Tata Memorial Hospital (MTMH) here has seen an increase of 1,100 caner patients in the last two years, and this is discounting those who are being treated at Curie Abdur Razzaque Ansari Cancer Institute in Ranchi which came up last year.
Jamshedpur has seen a regular increase in numbers with the most common occurances being cancer of the head and neck, cervix, breast, lungs and gastro intestine.
The total number of patients at the Meherbai hospital has gone up from about 8,800 in 2006-07 to 9,900 in 2008-09, an increase of 1,100 patients in two years.
Head and neck cancer, however, encompass similar cancers originating from the upper aerodigestive tract, including the lip, oral cavity, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, pharynx and larynx.
“As we study the cases, we find the major reasons to be the consumption of tobacco and inadequate oral hygiene, one of the most neglected aspects of the human body,” said Nafis Akhtar Khan, the senior medical officer at the hospital.
“Pollution and lack of awareness among people are the two other reasons for the increase. This in spite of new cancer hospitals coming up in the state,” he said, adding that awareness camps were also being carried out by Cancare, a social organisation dedicated to the welfare of cancer patients.
Among the other cancers that are showing up among people is leukeamia, accounting for seven per cent of cases in the hospital in 2008-09 compared to about four per cent in 2007-08.
The hospital has 80 beds as of now, but at times when more patients are admitted, the number is increased to 96. Now, seeing the rise in number of cases, the hospital is planning to have more beds in future.
“Cancer can happen to anyone without any specific reason. All we can do is develop and maintain a hygienic lifestyle and consult a doctor whenever there is a doubt. We also run a free clinic at the Cobalt OPD every Thursdays from 3 pm to 4.30 pm,” said Khan.
The Meherbai Tata Memorial Hospital was established by the Indian Cancer Society and is affiliated to International Union Against Cancer (UICC), World Health Organisation (WHO) and Indian Society of Oncology (ISO).