Kohima: There is already a high prevalence of cancer incidences in Nagaland, with the state ranking 11th in the country, and now, medical experts reveal that cancer cases are expected to rise in the next 5-10 years.
A medical doctor specialising in cancer treatment at the Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, has warned that one cause of cancer in the state in the coming years could be the alarming rise in the consumption of tobacco-related products by the general population.
Dr Ravikant Singh, officer in-charge at the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (HBCH & RC), Muzaffarpur, said the consumption of tobacco-related products, both smoke and smokeless, was predominant among men. However, there is a rising trend of consumption among women, who are at a higher risk of developing cancer.
While it takes an average of around 10 years for men to develop symptoms of cancer, it takes only 7 to 8 years for the disease to develop in women, he said.
He was speaking at the launch of the Medical Certification Cause of Death (MCCD) and Affordable Cancer Care Project in Kohima, on Wednesday.
With the trend showing no downward direction, Singh said that cancer treatment hospitals are expected to witness a large inflow of patients in a few years time, if nothing is done to address the grave issue.
He suggested that the government take preemptive steps in mitigating the situation, and to ensure that citizens do not face extreme hardship — either financially or due to lack of proper treatment facilities.
The project has been jointly undertaken by the Tata Memorial Centre (Mumbai) in collaboration with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, and the Department of Economics and Statistics, Nagaland.
Nagaland ranks low in death registrations while Manipur records 100 per cent of death cases, Singh added.
He said that registration of deaths is important as it leads to acquiring good quality data as the causes of death are ascertained. This in turn, can impact policy-level decisions and set priorities for necessary interventions.
He added that the Tata Memorial Centre is trying its best to provide affordable cancer treatment to people by setting up chemo and radio therapy centres in Kohima and Dimapur in the pilot project. More centres will later be established in other parts of the state.
These centres, he said, would help in the early detection and basic treatment of cancer.
During the launch, Chief Secretary J Alam said that Nagaland is now witnessing major improvement in the public health care system, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the recently concluded Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) conclave, he said that 79 projects worth Rs 50 crores have been committed to the state, out of which, over 50 projects worth Rs 20 crores are for the health sector.
With regard to the progress of the two medical colleges in the state, Alam said that 75 per cent of the construction work has been completed in Kohima, and academic sessions are expected to begin next year. It might take more years for the medical college in Mon to be complete, he informed.
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