KOCHI: Tobacco-related cancers (TRCs) continue to be a major health concern in Kerala while in the country as a whole as many as 932,600 lives are lost due to the menace every year. The all-India figures released by the sixth Tobacco Atlas regarding the deaths due to tobacco-caused diseases and the statistics compiled by Kerala’s four hospital-based cancer registries emphasise the need for acting fast and tough to tackle the issue, according to health experts. The statistics from four Kerala hospitals have been cited by the ‘Consolidated Report of Hospital Based Cancer Registries 2012-2014’ of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The Cancer Registry at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, one of the first such initiatives in the country, shows that of the new cancers registered during the three-year period from January 2012 to December 2014, TRCs constitute 27.6% and 9.7% among males and females respectively. This cancer registry was established in 2004. At Kerala’s premier cancer hospital, Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum, TRCs are at 4,906 (42.9%) in males and 1,464 (12.5%) in females. Of these, lung cancer accounts for 35.7 %, followed by mouth (17.6 %) and tongue (14.3 %) in males. Among females, mouth (31.1%) accounts for most of TRCs followed by lung (28.1%) and tongue (18.3%).
According to the Cancer Registry of Caritas Hospital, Kottayam, in 2014 a total of 3,462 new cancer cases were registered, of whom 1,659 were males and 1803 females. Of these, TRCs were 626 (37.7%) in males and 150 (8.3%) in females. The Caritas Hospital Cancer Registry was established in July 2012. The figures released by the Malabar Cancer Centre (MCC), Thalassery, point that the use of tobacco is a source of grave concern in the northern districts of the state as well. The MCC Cancer Registry marked 7,444 new cases from January 2012 to December 2014, of which 3,934 were males and 3,510 females. Of these, TRCs stood at 2,754, which included 2,098 (53.3) males and 656 (18.7) females.
“These figures are a pointer for tightening the legal, regulatory and enforcement mechanism to tackle the sale of tobacco products," said Dr K. Vijayakumar, professor, department of community medicine, Amrita School of Medicine. "It's also time that we thought about legislative measures to effectively tackle the menace, apart from leveraging the existing control protocol far more vigorously and resolutely to protect our youth from tobacco use initiation.”...