Smoked meat – most common cause of cancer in North East

“The most common cancer in the northeast is Nasopharyngeal cancer caused due to intake of smoked meat which contains cancer causing substances called carcinogens,” said Dr. S. Kannan, Senior Consultant, Head & Neck Cancer Onco Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai.

Speaking with The Morung Express during a press meet in Dimapur on Saturday, Dr Kannan said that Nasopharyngeal cancer is formed at the Nasopharynx which is the space at the back of the nose.

He informed that two-third of the head and neck cancer patients in the world live in the Indian sub-continent and that India accounts for more than one-fourth of world’s head and neck cancer owing to which it has been named as an “Indian Cancer.” He also informed that 35% of the total cancers in India are from the head and neck region as compared to 5-8% in the western world. Dr. Kannan said that 30% of cancer in males would be head and neck cancer.

Cancer in North EastHe said that the most common etiological factors for head neck cancers are tobacco (smoking and smokeless) and alcohol.

“Smokeless tobacco including gutkha, pan, supari without tobacco are the major etiological factors in India and Southeast Asia,” he added. Dr. Kannan also said that chewing of betel nut which contains areca nut causes oral submucosal fibrosis which leads to oral cancer.

Dr. Kannan said mouth cancer often begins as a small ulcer or lump on the tongue, cheek and gums and that 75% of those diagnosed were tobacco users. It was also informed that those who both smoke and drink have 15 times greater risk of developing oral cancer than others.

Talking about the sizes of tumour and cure rates, Dr. Kannan said that if the tumour was less than 4cm without spreading to other parts of the body, then the cure rate is 80-90% and if it is less than 2cm the cure rate goes up to 90%. However, if the tumour spreads to other parts of the body then the cure rate comes down to 90%, he added.

On the various treatments available, Dr. Kannan said there were three types of treatment including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. He said early stage cancers were treated by single modality mostly surgery and that advanced stage cancers were treated by multimodality treatment – surgery followed by radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy. Dr. Kannan, however, added that surgery was the main form of treatment for head and neck cancers.

He further informed about Targeted Therapy which attacks only the tumour cells without affecting the normal and healthy cells.

The press meet was organized by Apollo Information Centre, Dimapur and Apollo Hospitals, Chennai.

Source: Morung Express News, Dimapur | May 13