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Cancer threat on the rise
Published on 2 Jun. 2009 12:16 AM IST
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Though there is ban imposed on smoking in public places by the Supreme Court, consumption of tobacco in the form of smoking cigarettes, zarda with beetel leaf and nut and khaini have been steadily rising in Tripura along with fatalities caused by it. On an average, around 3,000 people die of cancer in Tripura annually and out of them 40 per cent succumb to tobacco-induced cancer of the lungs, respiratory chord, throat and mouth. “Last year 22.23 per cent of patients died of tobacco-induced cancer in the state cancer hospital alone but the actual figure is much higher because 50 per cent of the patients undergo treatment outside the ambit of the government-run hospital here and our statistics does not include the death toll outside,” said Gautam Mazumder, superintendent of the state cancer hospital. He was speaking at a seminar organised by the health department on the occasion of anti-tobacco day today in the auditorium of the cancer hospital. The seminar was presided over by the commissioner for health, Yashpal Singh, and attended by 200 doctors. In his keynote address, Mazumder reeled off statistical data on fatalities caused by cancer, saying in the entire northeastern region the majority of cancer patients die because of tobacco-induced cancer as the rate of consumption of cigarettes, betel leaf with zarda, khaini, and gutka continues to be very high. “Globally, 5.4 million people die of cancer every year and 80 per cent is in Third World countries, including India,” said Mazumder. He said “this can be drastically reduced”. He added that the daily death count from tobacco-induced diseases in India is 2,200 and in the next year, a million people would die of such diseases which can be easily prevented by stopping consumption of tobacco and timely treatment. Mazumder said the health department would shortly launch an awareness campaign by circulating leaflets and papers on the threat posed by tobacco to health.

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