Mizoram has the highest incidence of four types of cancer in the world and the grim situation is caused mainly by extensive consumption of tobacco by the Mizo people including women, experts said.
Dr Eric Zomawia, head of the pathology department in the Civil hospital here, said that Mizoram led the world in the number of cases of Hypopharynx cancer (Male), Tongue cancer (Male), Stomach cancer (male & female) and Esophageal cancer (male).
Zomawia said that Mizoram also has the dubious distinction of topping all states in six other types of cancer and Aizawl district is on top among districts, though other districts like Serchhip, Champhai, Lunglei and Mamit are not far behind.
The lifestyle of the people of the state, especially their extensive consumption of tobacco coupled with consumption of smoked meat, leads to the high incidence of cancer, he says.
Around 40 per cent of the cancer can be prevented by changing the lifestyle, he says.
Stressing the need for a tobacco-free environment in Mizoram, Ralte said, "second hand smoke inhalation increased the risk of heart disease and lung cancer by 25 per cent, endangering the lives of children and other non-smokers."
"Mizos, both male and female, has the highest incidence of stomach cancer followed by cancer of the lungs and the esophagus," Zomawia said.
Apart from smoking, consumption of fermented pork, smoked meat and vegetable and poisoned wild animal meat, including fish and crabs also attributed to the high incidence of cancer in the state, he said.
To combat this killer disease, the state has well equipped Aizawl Civil Hospital, which has been declared as the Regional Cancer Centre by the centre recently, Zomawia said adding, a Population Based Cancer Registry is also established in Aizawl to keep track of the cancer cases.
The hospital is equipped with telecobalt machine, day care centre (chemotherapy), brachyterapy CT Scan, Mammography, Bronchoscopy and endoscopies.
There is also a Tobacco Cessation Clinic, a Diagnostic and Research Centre with specialists in surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology and paediatric and gynae oncology.