High incidence of cancer among Bhutia community

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Gangtok, Sep 26 (UNI) An increasing trend of cancer among the Bhutia community in Sikkim has been reported in a recent study as 325 people of the community were detected with various forms of this fatal disease out of a total of 1374 cases in Sikkim.

Total population of the community is 76076 as per the State Socio- Economic Survey, 2006.

Rai community comes a distant second with 189 cases of cancer detection followed closely by the Subbas with 148 cases.

Lepcha community has 107 cancer cases in the study.

Incidentally, the study which has been prepared from cancer cases detected in Sikkim between 2003 and 2006 gives a clean chit to the Tami/Jogi community with zero cancer cases.

The findings were presented by Dr Yogesh Verma during inaugural session of a two day cancer detection camp here at STNM hospital.

Goethals alumni, Sikkim had organized the camp in collaboration with the Health department and Indian Cancer Society, Kolkata.

Dr Verma is the consultant and Head of department of Pathology, SNTM hospital.

In his presentation, Dr Verma has tried to link the cancer detections with all the ethnic groups of Sikkim taking into the account the population chart of 2006.

Out of a total ethnic population of 581546 in Sikkim, Dr Verma's study puts cancer cases of different types to 1374 which he collected from various sources of registrations like STNM, CRH, birth and death records, district hospitals, primary health centres and private clinics.

The commonest forms of cancer prevalent in Sikkim were stomach, lungs, liver, breast and oesophagus.

Not surprisingly, the Bhutia community tops the charts in all the forms as per the study.

Speaking to UNI, Dr Verma said that more research has to be conducted on why a particular community are more vulnerable to cancer.

It could be due to fungal food contamination, certain food habits, genetics or many other compounding factors, he added.

The consultant further added that it is a known fact that the Mongoloid people have more cancer cases in the world.

Apart from racial habits, tobacco consumption is panned as the main reason for cancer proliferation in the world.

Since tobacco is the main reason, we need more tobacco control measures as primary prevention of cancer, Dr Verma stated.

He added that Sikkim can draw some comfort as tobacco products like gutkas are banned here.

For Sikkim, the he opined that an effective cancer screening programme has to be placed for early detection.

A cancer hospital can also be set up and anti-tobacco measures must be launched, he added.

UNI BG RH SS1116

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