Breast and cervical cancers on the rise in Kerala, says Health Ministry

Consumption of pesticide-laced vegetables could be a reason for rising number of cases, say docs

Published: 21st December 2019 02:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st December 2019 02:47 AM   |  A+A-

Cancer, Breast Cancer

Image used for representational purpose.

Express News Service

KOCHI:  Breast cancer cases have been on the rise in Kerala in the last couple of years, with the highest number of new cases being reported in 2018,  according to the Health and Family Welfare Ministry data.
Over the last three years, breast cancer rates in Kerala have registered a steady rise, as per the  findings. While it was 5,682 in 2016, the number of breast cancer cases jumped up to 6,189 in 2017. And the figure further went up  to 6,748 in 2018.

Voicing concern over the rise in breast cancer rates, health experts say regular medical examination and early detection are the only option to increase the survival rate of breast cancer sufferers. Also, the estimated  cervical-uterine cancer cases among women in Kerala has been reportedly on the rise in the last couple of years. While the number of cases was 2,849 in 2016, it increased to 2,908 in 2017 and 2,975 in 2018.

The total number of various types of cancer cases in Kerala as estimated by the ministry  was  47,382 in 2018 compared to 44,566 in 2017, 42,004 in 2016 and 39,672 in 2015. As per the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP) of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the estimated number of cancer-related deaths in Kerala in 2018 was 23,761  while it was 22,348 in 2017, 21,062 in 2016, 19,892 in 2015 and 18,827 in 2014.

K L Jayakumar, head of oncology, Thrissur Medical College, said the increase in breast cancer rates in Kerala can be attributed to a host of reasons.  “We have noticed more breast cancer cases among women who choose to settle down late in life, spinsters and those fail to do proper breast-feeding,” he said, adding, raising the level of awareness and through that early detection alone can help bring down breast cancer mortality rates.  

“Though we can’t pinpoint any reason for the rise in breast cancer cases in Kerala, it is believed that consumption of  pesticide-laced vegetables and regular intake of hormone-injected chicken meat are the major reasons for the rising number of cancer cases,” he said.  

Meanwhile, Health Minister K K Shailaja had on July 2, 2019,informed the Kerala Assembly of the alarming increase in the number of cancer patients in the state. As per the stats, government hospitals had registered 57,727 new cancer cases between 2018-19. According to the official data, 25,464 cases were registered at medical colleges while 15,267 cases were registered at the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), Thiruvananthapuram, 4,620 cases at Malabar Cancer Centre, Thalasserry, 8,011 cases at  Cochin Cancer Research Centre and 4,365 cases at  Ernakulam General Hospital. Besides, the minister said studies are being undertaken at the RCC in association with ICMR to establish the reasons behind the rise in number of cases.


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