Kozhikode: Tobacco use is said to be the cause of high incidence of lung cancers in north Kerala districts of Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod, according to a recent study.
As much as 36 per cent of overall patients across these districts had the habit of smoking,the study by Malabar Cancer Centre (MCC), a tertiary cancer centre in Kannur, stated.
Patients from Kasargod were the most prone to smoking at 40 per cent; followed by Kannur at 34 per cent and Kozhikode at 33 per cent.
The extent of smoking among Kerala adults, as per the latest benchmark figures of Global Adult Tobacco Survey of Union Health Ministry, is 13.4 per cent.
Lung and breast cancer rank high among various cancers across the three study districts.
The distribution of lung and breast cancers in Kannur is 15 per cent.
Lung cancers contribute to 11 per cent and breast cancers are at 13 per cent in Kozhikode, while in Kasargod lung and breast cancers are 13 and 15 per cents respectively.
The study ‘Geographical Distribution of Cancer in Northern Kerala,India: A Retrospective Analysis’ was conducted based on data of the hospital based cancer registry for the year 2011 in MCC and published in Indian Journal of Applied Research.
A total of 2,366 cancer patients – 1,259 males and 1,107 females – had registered at MCC in 2011 from the districts of Kozhikode (457), Kannur (1670) and Kasargod (239).
A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect the information from the patient’s medical records to understand the demographic factors, personal habits, and tumour staging.
The study also refers to harms of second-hand smoke or passive smoke as it found that 10 per cent of female registered patients were passive smokers.
Citing scientific literature, it adds that second-hand smoke is linked to lung cancer and also lymphoma, leukaemia, brain tumours in children, cancers of breast, stomach and the
brain, among others.
Dr Satheesan B, Director, Malabar Cancer Centre and the study’s principal investigator and co-author said “The study findings yet again brings out the role of tobacco in cancers and underlines that tobacco control is the best way to prevent cancers.”
“Things can no longer be left to chance as the combined burden that tobacco use causes on morbidity and mortality at micro and macro levels is enormous. Regular monitoring and
consolidation of tobacco control measures taken at the district level should happen through monthly reviews of enforcement and awareness activities,” he said.
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