Cancer - A major health concern in Kashmir

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With rising incidents of malignancy cases, cancer is becoming a major public health challenge in Kashmir. Prioritizing the quality of cancer care in Kashmir and making it more accessible and affordable is the need of the hour.

According to the experts, thyroid, breast, and lung cancers are most common among the people in Jammu and Kashmir. Besides thyroid and breast cancer, lung, stomach, and colorectal cancers are also very common among Kashmiris.

Lack of awareness among cancer patients in the valley is a bigger hurdle for timely treatment. So, the right treatment is needed at the right time. People need to find good doctors for early diagnosis.

Statistics show that SKIMS Soura saw 1110 cancer cases in the first three months of 2022, compared to the 4800 patients seen throughout last year.

Last year, SKIMS registered over 5,000 new cases of cancer. According to the Union Health Ministry’s figures, J&K has reported an estimated 39041 cancer cases, of which 12675 were recorded in 2019 and 13012 in 2020.

According to the senior officials at the Radiology Department,  SKIMS breast cancer is on the rise among women in Kashmir. Doctors said that cancer has no single cause; it is complex, just like diabetes and heart disease.

The rise in cancer cases can be attributed to several factors. Adoption of poor food habits, a poor lifestyle, longer working hours, smoking, alcohol use, contraceptive use, constipation, and a lack of exercise are some of them.

They said another significant reason for the rise in cancer incidence is the unavailability of additional cancer screening facilities, including in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. “Regular screenings and early diagnosis can help improve the chances of beating the disease,” they said.

They said Kashmir is witnessing a surge in the rate of thyroid cancer patients; however, if detected early, the chances of survival for such patients are higher than for patients suffering from other types of cancer.

Thousands of patients in Kashmir are battling different types of cancer and get diagnosed at the last stage of the disease.

Doctors said that cancer has no single cause; it is complex, just like diabetes and heart disease.

Doctors said the rise in cancer cases can be attributed to several factors. Adoption of poor food habits, a poor lifestyle, longer working hours, smoking, alcohol use, contraceptive use, constipation, and a lack of exercise are some of them. Another significant reason for the rise in cancer incidence is the unavailability of additional cancer screening facilities, including in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. “Regular screenings and early diagnosis can help improve the chances of beating the disease.”

According to the senior director and head of the department (HoD) of surgical oncology and robotic surgery at BLK-Max Cancer Centre, New Delhi, Kashmir is witnessing a surge in the rate of thyroid cancer patients; if detected early, the chances of survival for such patients are higher than for patients suffering from other types of cancer.

According to the official data, out of 100 patients the doctors in Delhi had treated, 70 of them had thyroid cancer.

Doctors who have treated a large number of patients in Delhi said that thyroid cancer, if detected early, can be curable. Thyroid cancer patients have more chances of survival than other patients with different cancers.

Thyroid cancer occurs when cells of the thyroid gland grow uncontrollably to form tumours that can invade the tissues of the neck, spread to the surrounding lymph nodes, or enter the bloodstream and then spread to other parts of the body. Awareness is the key to the battle against cancer.

So, lymph nodes should not be taken lightly. If nothing else, at least, it is advisable to consult a doctor and get them tested if a person has such appearances on his body. It is not necessary that every lymph node be cancerous, but it is better and safer to get them checked by an expert. This is what doctors in Delhi have advised the people.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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