Attribute it to the signs of the changing times or the pressures of a hectic life and variations in the environment, the number of cancer cases is on the rise.
As per a door-to-door survey conducted by the government in the state in December last, the city has witnessed more than 2799 deaths due to cancer in the past five years. The city had 8346 suspected cases of cancer, with 3448 of these hailing from the urban areas and the rest from the rural areas.
While the total number of cancer cases is reported to be around 2017 in both the urban and the rural areas of Amritsar, the urban areas are ahead of their rural counterparts in terms of cancer cases with 1123 cases of various kinds of cancers being reported in these areas.
In the rural areas, 894 cases of cancer had been reported in the past five years. As far as deaths due to cancer are concerned, 1479 deaths were reported in the urban areas in the past five years, while 1320 deaths were reported in the rural areas of Amritsar.
Officials in the Health Department said the government was still in the process of assessing the degree of prevalence of various cancers. "While instances of cancer were rarely reported in the past, the disease has suddenly raised its ugly head in the state, which is evident from the increasing number of cases and deaths reported in the past few years," said Dr Shiv Karan Singh Kahlon, District Health Officer, and formerly the nodal officer dealing with cases of cancer.
According to Dharminder Dhillon, of the MKC Roko Cancer, an NGO dealing with breast cancer, women were more prone breast cancer.
Officials in the Health Department further said that the residents were also prone to contracting oral and stomach cancers. Oral cancers because of rampant consumption of tobacco and tobacco-based products and stomach cancers, because of alcohol, cigarette smoking, consumption of foods involving the use of preservatives and chemicals, age, socio-economic status, family history and other medical reasons.
Dr Ranjit Singh Buttar, currently the nodal officer dealing with cases of cancer, said that cancer was curable if detected and diagnosed at an early stage. He added that the aim behind the early detection and treatment of cancer was to reduce the number of fatalities. Dr Buttar said that doctors from seven districts had been trained to treat cancer. "Amritsar also has a facility to treat cancer at the Government Medical College," he said.
Total number of cancer cases in past five years: 2017
Total number of cancer deaths in past five years: 2799
Total number of cancer deaths in urban areas in past five years: 1479
Total number of cancer deaths in rural areas in past five years: 1320
Total number of suspected cancer cases in past five years: 8346
Total number of cancer cases from urban areas in past five years: 1123
Total number of cancer cases from rural areas in past five years: 894
Total number of suspected cancer cases from urban areas in past five years: 3448
Total number of suspected cancer cases from rural areas in past five years: 4898
Types of cancers prevalent in the city:
Breast cancer (mainly women)