Print Edition - 2015-02-03  |  Development

Number of cancer cases increasing

  • world cancer day
- Manish Gautam

Feb 2, 2015-

The number of people afflicted with cancer is increasing in the country, and if the trend continues, cancer could soon be among Nepal’s main killer diseases. According to data from seven major hospitals in the country, in a little over the last one decade, there has been a two-fold increase in the number of patients admitted to hospital for cancer.

According to the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP),  7,212 patients were diagnosed with cancer in 2012; in 2000, the number of such patients stood at 3,251. But the number of cancer sufferers in the country may be higher because of the paucity of exact national data and poor reporting mechanism in hospitals, say some experts.

NCRP estimates suggest that 30,000-40,000 cancer cases are diagnosed annually, and around 50 percent of these patients end up dying. The estimates, however, vary depending on organisation and research institute. According to Globocan, of the World Health Organisation, which estimates the cancer trends on a global level, there were 27,768 cancer cases in Nepal. Globocan states that the five most common cancers in Nepal are gynaecological, lung, head and neck (lip and oral cavity, nasopharynx, other pharynx, larynx and thyroid) and various hematological malignancies.

The increase in cancer cases, say doctors, could mean that more people are living riskier lives.

“A sedentary lifestyle, along with the imbibing of tobacco products and heavy drinking, are also contributing to cancer,” says Dr Bishnu Dutta Poudel, an oncologist at Bir Hospital. “There are genetic causes too. But the majority of these cases could be prevented through a few tweaks in one’s lifestyle.”

Or it could simply be that more people now have access to hospitals, hence the increase in positive diagnosis.

“I have come across many patients who show up with bulges in their body, fearing that they have cancer. People are quite aware and conscious about their health these days, and they come harbouring their worst fears,” says Dr RP Baral, an oncologist at the Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital.

Dr Baral believes that until and unless a population-based cancer registry is created and maintained, it will be difficult to project the exact number of people living with cancer and the necessary measures to be taken.

The report by the National Cancer Registry Programme states that Kathmandu heads the list of the top ten cancer-affected districts, followed by Sunsari, Morang, Jhapa and Chitwan, among others. Similarly, lung cancer is the most prevalent cancer among Nepalis, followed by cervix uteri, breast, stomach, ovary and gall bladder cancer.


Published: 03-02-2015 09:16

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