Alarming rise in cancer cases in Kashmir, reveals data

A file photo of SKIMS Srinagar.

Srinagar: In a worrisome trend, Kashmir’s’ leading tertiary care hospital— Shere-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura has recorded over 1,100 cases of cancer in the first quarter of ensuing year.

The medicos at the Radiation Oncology department of the Institute admit that the cancer cases have shown a steep rise in Kashmir adding that in men, lung cancer is the most prominent one while women are fast falling prey to breast cancer. The doctors at the institute termed the growing cancer rate as a “cause of great concern.”

Figures reveal that against last year’s total patient load of 4800, SKIMS Soura received 1110  cancer cases in the first three months (Jan 1 to March 31) of 2022, highest in recent times.

Dr Fir Afroz, Head of department Radiation Oncology at SKIMS said that out of the total cases received at the Institute, Lung cancer was found prominent among men while breast cancer was seen on the rise among women.

She said that smoking is one of the primary reasons of cancer among males. “Family history, obesity, age are among the factors responsible for the cancer cases,” Dr Afroz said.

She, however, said that one of the positive changes that have happened in the valley in the past few years is that people are getting aware about the disease.

“We have high inflow of such patients who come forward to get themselves treated. People have overcome their fear of getting treated which is a good sign,” Dr Afroz said, adding that “early detecting of the disease helps provide timely treatment, which ultimately can help save the precious life.”

As per Health Ministry of India figures, Jammu Kashmir has reported an estimated 39041 cancer cases, of which 12675 were recorded in 2019, 13012 in 2020 and 13354 in 2021.

“Cancer is a multi-dimensional disease and the risk factors inter alia include ageing population, sedentary lifestyle, use of tobacco products, unhealthy diet and air pollution. The number of cancer cases due to water and industrial pollution is not available,” the ministry’s note reads.

Dr Afroz said that the actual rise in the cancer cases could be found at the end of the year after drawing comparison with the last year.

“I urge patients having symptoms of cancer to come forward as early treatment can prevent the disease from spreading further and then help save a life,” she said, adding that at the Institute there is a quality treatment available as far as Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy is concerned. “Upgradation of the infrastructure is a continuous process,” Dr Afroz said. (KNO)


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