THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Report of National Cancer Registry Programme 2020, released on Tuesday, has found that two districts in the state — Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam — had a high incidence of thyroid cancer at the national level, triggering debates on radiation, over-diagnosis, and presence of thorium-rich monazite sands. “For some time now, the state is having a high incidence of thyroid cancer. Independent studies that came out earlier had also underscored the same,” said an official of the health department.
“Though the exact reason for the same is yet to be traced, theories like radiation due to the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu, presence of thorium-rich monazite sand and over-diagnosis are put forward by health experts. But these are just theories and there is no genuineness for the same,” the official further added.
As per the report, among males, thyroid cancer is more prevalent in Thiruvananthapuram than Kollam. In the case of females, the top slot rests with Papumpare district of Arunachal Pradesh. But it is followed by Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts. An oncologist at a state-run cancer care centre said, “The link between thyroid cancer and radiation is well known. But there are other areas like hereditary, uncommon genetic conditions, overweight, and obesity.”
Meanwhile, experts say it is time now for Kerala, which has a high burden of cancer cases, to enhance cancer prevention and control efforts and foster cancer research. Dr K R Thankappan of Department of Public Health and Community Medicine of Central University of Kerala said: “In Kerala, population-based cancer registry is available only in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam. That’s why those districts found a place in the report. Every district here is prone to cancer.” Meanwhile, Dr Boban Thomas, oncologist, said there was no point in pinpointing a certain type of cancer, as the priority should be to prevent it. “What we could do for the same is to follow a healthy diet, healthy lifestyle, putting a cap on alcohol and use of tobacco products and other harmful products.”
The report released jointly by Indian Council of Medical Research and National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research had highlighted that the state also had a high incidence of lung cancer and breast cancer. Citing data from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, it states that among women there is a high incidence of breast cancer and among men there is a big chance of developing lung cancer.