First India Cancer Study Shows Clear Link to Tobacco
Rural areas previously uncounted show heavy toll
Posted by: Editor | Mar 30, 2012
The first nationwide study of cancer in India shows the clear link between the nation’s urgent tobacco problem and cancer rates. The study published in The Lancet is the first to document the burden of tobacco use in India’s rural areas, where 70 percent of Indians live.
The joint study by Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, the Centre for Global Health Research and the University of Toronto documented nearly 560,000 cancer deaths in India in 2010–one in five of them are related to tobacco use.
Tobacco-related cancers accounted for 42 percent of cancer deaths among men, and 18 percent of them among women. Due to the widespread chewing of tobacco, there are twice as many deaths from oral cancers as from lung cancer.
Cancer has become one of the biggest killers in India, with more than 70 percent of cancer deaths occurring in people aged 30-69 years. Health authorities must do far more to stem the tobacco epidemic, particularly through higher taxation of ALL tobacco products, including bidis and smokeless tobacco products. They should also support banning gutka, one popular form of smokeless tobacco that is often flavored with spices and sweeteners and sold cheaply in thousands of shops and kiosks.