news Thursday, April 09, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | April 7, 2015 | 07:31 pm IST Thiruvananthapuram: Amid wide-spread shock and anguish over misinformed statements on tobacco's association with cancer, Kerala's medical community has said that tobacco consumption indeed causes cancer. Paul Sebastian, well-known surgical oncologist and director of Regional Cancer Centre here, said no less than the World Health Organisation has categorically said that tobacco causes cancer. He pointedly referered to the cohort study in Karunagappally taluk in Alappuzha district started in the late 1980s to study the potential health effects of high background radiation. The study that covered 65,829 men aged 30-84 showed an elevated lung cancer incidence among bidi smokers, strengthening the association of lung cancer risk with bidi smoking. "Karunagappally is known for high background radiation from thorium-containing monazite sand and the study set out to explore the lung and other cancer risks increased by exposure to high-level natural radiation, and the synergistic effect between radiation and other factors, including bidi smoking. However, our cohort study showed that the relatively high lung cancer incidence in this area is unlikely to be due to high-level natural radiation," Sebastian added. Founder director of Regional Cancer Centre, M. Krishnan Nair said the prime minister's assurance that the government will go ahead with 85 per cent pictorial warnings on packets of cigarettes is reassuring. "Baseless statements that tobacco does not cause cancer cannot take away from established facts of science, and collective efforts of the scientific and medical fraternity. Reports of the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP) have a dedicated chapter on tobacco related cancers. The 2011 Report shows 45.4 per cent tobacco related cancers among males and 16.8 per cent among females in India," said Nair. V.P.Gangadharan, eminent medical oncologist and head of Medical and Paediatric Oncology, Lakeshore Hospital at Kochi, said tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease and strategies such as large pictorial warnings can save one million precious Indian lives every year. "Tobacco snatches away the best years of a user's life, hampering productivity and social well-being. Pictorial warnings of 85 per cent can go a long way in preventing youngsters, migrants, and illiterates from getting addicted to tobacco products," said Gangadharan. With IANS
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