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Cancer disability-adjusted life years highest in M’laya

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NEW DELHI, May 13: Meghalaya, which already reels under the high incidence of cancer, is now revealed to have the highest cancer disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) alongside Mizoram and Delhi, with people in the age group of 65-69 years found to be the most vulnerable.
The DALY is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death. It was developed in the 1990s as a way of comparing the overall health and life expectancy of different countries.
According to a report by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) on the ‘Burden of cancers in India’, seven cancers accounted for more than 40 per cent of the total disease burden — lung (10.6%), breast (10.5%), oesophagus (5.8%), mouth (5.7%), stomach (5.2%), liver (4.6%) and cervix uteri (4.3%).
The number of Indians suffering from cancer is projected to increase to 29.8 million in 2025 from 26.7 million in 2021.
The highest incidence last year was in the North India (2,408 patients per 100,000), followed by the Northeast (2,177 per 100,000).
As per data released by ICMR-NCDIR in 2021, Meghalaya was ranked second in the country in terms of cancer prevalence among men. It is ranked 11 in the number of cancer cases among women.
As per the data, Meghalaya has 227.9 cancer cases per one lakh population among men and 118.6 cases per one lakh population among women. The total number of cancer cases registered in the state between 2015 and 2019 was 7,014 with 4,350 male patients and 2,664 females and the number of cancer cases in the State was witnessing an upward trend.
The major cause of cancer in the state has been attributed to the use of tobacco. In addition, betel nut, alcohol, smoked food and fermented food are also known to have contributed to the rise in cancer cases in Meghalaya.
Explaining the 2021-2025 projections, Dr Prasant Mathur, Director, National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR), said that men will contribute to 14.7 million years of life lost (YLLs), 0.72 million years lived with disability (YLDs) and 15.5 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in 2025. The figure for women will be 13.6 million YLLs, 0.69 million YLDs and 14.3 DALYs.
“The information will be useful in understanding differences in the cancer burden across the country, resource allocation, prioritization of interventions, and monitoring indicators at national and state levels,” said Dr Mathur.
Oncologists are of the opinion that increasing consumption of packaged food with harmful preservatives and junk food could be the contributory factors.
“The increasing burden of cancer is quite worrisome. Earlier, tobacco and alcohol consumption were considered the major reasons for cancer. Obesity, radiation from mobile phone towers, vegetables grown in toxic water like rivers near industries, adulteration in food, artificial colouring of food and vegetables also increase the risk of cancers,” Dr Anshuman Kumar, Director Surgical Oncology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, said.
“It is a valuable addition to all our efforts to spread cancer awareness. There is a need for better survivorship initiatives for cancers of people of low socioeconomic status (SES), so that we can help them to achieve a better quality of life. For cancers of people in high SES, we try to add life to each and every day they live but poor people struggle with life in view of poor awareness and missing survivorship support. It’s our combined responsibility to give voice to voiceless cancer patients,” said Dr Abhishek Shankar, Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, AIIMS, Patna. “We are moving away from natural food to processed food which contains certain preservatives which increase the risk of cancers. In mountain areas like Leh and Ladakh, locals store food in preservatives which suggests that the numbers of oesophagus and stomach cancer are much more there,” said Dr Rakesh Garg, Professor of Oncology at AIIMS, New Delhi.
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