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A report published by ICMR-NCDIR indicates that the North Eastern States of India have a high cancer burden.

In Kamrupurban, Assam, India the lifetime risk of acquiring cancer is as high as 1 in every 4 males and 1 in every 6 females.

A report titled “Profile of cancer and related health indicators in the Northeast Region of India” was published by the Bengaluru-based National Centre for Disease Informatics & Research (NCDIR), a division of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Prof. Balram Bhargava, Secretary DHR and Director General, ICMR, announced the publication of the report.

According to the report, the anticipated 50,317 new cases of cancer in the North East Region (NER) in 2020 are expected to rise to 57,131 by 2025. These projections are based on data on cancer gathered by eleven Population Based Cancer Registries (PBCRs) across all eight states.

Except for Manipur and Sikkim, all states had a greater male than female prevalence of cancer. Males were more likely to have oesophageal cancer (13.6%) and lung cancer (10.9%), but females were more likely to develop breast cancer (14.5%) and cervix uteri cancer (12.2%). The Aizawl district in Mizoram had the greatest incidence rate for males (269.4 per 100,000 people), while Papumpare district in Arunachal Pradesh had the highest incidence rate for females (219.8 per 100,000 people).

Males accounted for 49.3% of tobacco-related cancer cases, while females made up 22.8%. Less than one-third of breast, cervix, head and neck, stomach, and lung cancer diagnoses were localised; the remainder had spread to other parts of the body, either nearby or far away. Sikkim (95.3%) and Nagaland (58.1%) had the greatest percentages of cancer patients seeking treatment outside of the north-eastern states. 

“North-East, the eight sisters, is the jewel in the crown of our nation. The NE cancer registries have done commendable work. It is pertinent that we preserve the ethnic diversity of the region.The report from ICMR-NCDIR, Bengaluru highlights the magnitude of the problem and its diversity in NER. The National Cancer Registry Program has played a vital role in NER towards mapping cancer burden over several years. The Region is a thrust area for ICMR to augment research to address cancer prevention and control activities. The scientific evidence generated from the registries has led to strengthening of health infrastructure in the region and will provide the guidance for future policy decisions”, said Prof Balram Bhargava, Secretary DHR & DG, ICMR.

“We need to focus on early diagnosis and prevention of Cancer. The report has given us valuable insights into the prevailing risk factors of Cancer – all the stakeholders must now come together to fights its increasing incidence.”, explains Prof GK Rath, Head of AIIMS, BRAIRCH and NCI, Jhajjar.

The report also offers information on the capacity for treating cancer and death statistics for each state from various sources, as well as the prevalent cancer risk factor profile.

The 8 NE states’ rates of current tobacco consumption ranged from 17.9% in Sikkim to 64.5% in Tripura. Over-15-year-old Arunachal Pradesh residents who were males (59%) and women (26.3%) consumed more alcohol than residents of other NE states. Sikkim had the greatest rate of obesity among women between the ages of 15 and 49, followed by Manipur (34.1%). In contrast, Meghalaya had the lowest rate (13.9%) and Sikkim had the highest (36.3%) for men.

The highest frequency of hypertension was found in Sikkim (41.6%), followed by Manipur (33.2% for men and 23.0% for women). Men had greater blood sugar levels than women did in each of the eight states. In Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura, less than 50% of families used clean fuel for cooking. The majority of households (63.5%) were covered by a health insurance or finance plan in Meghalaya.

A report published by ICMR-NCDIR indicates that the North Eastern States of India have a high cancer burden.

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