Conflicting cancer data confusing - The New Indian Express

Conflicting cancer data confusing

Published: 11th October 2012 10:11 AM

Last Updated: 11th October 2012 10:11 AM

The national average of cancer-affected persons in India is showing fluctuations in cancer charts, with different agencies coming up with different figures. According to data put out by the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC), which works under the United Nations (UN), in Mumbai recently, 93 of every 1 lakh Indians suffer from cancer. This is in sharp contrast to the figures arrived at by three other agencies, raising several questions.

Scientists dispute the IARC’s figure, since it is not known whether the data is based on the urban or  rural population, according to Dr Pugazhenthi, who practises with radiation-affected cancer patients in Kalpakkam. “During the initial stages of dialogue between the Central Expert Committee and the People’s Committee on the Koodankulam nuclear plant issue, the Muthunayagam Committee said in its second report that 225 of every 1 lakh Indians were suffering from cancer,” he said.

The other two national prevalence rates were each derived from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) report, which said that 98 of every 1 lakh Indians were suffering from cancer, and from another study funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) carried out at Kalpakkam by Dr Manjula Datta, an epidemologist in Chennai, according to whom 210 of every 1 lakh people living nearby villages (within 8 km and 22 villages) are suffering from cancer. The DAE took this as the national average.

“Just because the number of cancer patients near Kalpakkam is more or less similar to the national average predicted by Muthunayagam Committee, will it scientifically rule out that the cancers which occurred near Kalpakkam are not because of radiation?” asked Pugazhenthi.

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