Part 3: Doctors’ conflicting points on Cancer and pesticides in Mukhtsar.

Sri Mukhtsar Sahib

20 March 2013

The recent Punjab State Government Cancer Awareness Survey, revealed allot about the city i.e. Sri Mukhtsar Sahib where it has the highest cancer prevalence, cancer incidence and second highest cancer suspect at 136.3, 343.7 & 446 (in persons per lakh) respectively amongst the total districts of Punjab. The United Sikhs team went to doctors who deal with cancer in the city and also visited two hospitals for further details.

Both the hospitals have quality doctors and state of the art equipments for cancer detection as well as treatment to cure cancer. One side of medical professionals claimed that the whole cancer survey is heavily inflated with number to show the sorry figure of the state as well as the micro districts. Also, there is no direct link between pesticides and cancer or uranium in water and cancer and all the present studies are not complete and neither have they provided with any concrete evidence between the pesticides/uranium in water and cancer. Punjab being health conscious with numerous cancer detection centres have made the state aware leading to higher detection rate than other north Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh. The chief reason is lack of medical detection centres in these states whereby similar rates of cancers may arise if detection facilities in these states are as good as in the state of Punjab.

The other schools of thought claims there is a link between pesticides/ uranium in ground water and cancer as the cancers detected since 5 years had no trace in the state. High content of Uranium in water is the chief reason of cancer and many other birth defects. The excessive spray of pesticides, urea which seeps in ground water creates the problem. Also, going through the official records of the Civil Hospital, Mukhtsar, 143 cases of cancer has been confirmed which is indeed high, higher than Delhi’s 30 (approx) since 5 years. It was also figured out from the register entries that since February 2013, as data entry started since then, that the Male:Female ratio of cancer suspect is 2:9 leaving females more prone to cancer, the age group of the females recorded were between 35-55 years. It was later told by the medical professionals that females are more prone to cancer as infection hits them harder than their male counterparts leading to low immunity.

Despite the difference in the opinions, both the hospitals do their bit of awareness drives by themselves once in 3 months in the city and nearby villages to make the people better equipped with correct knowledge of cancer and getting the right treatment. It is mainly in the form of pamphlets and verbal messages in different villages. The doctors made themselves available for any kind of awareness drives in the future. Also added by them was to have cancer council centres where the patients diagnosed with cancer can be properly counselled to wipe their fears.

 

Amitoj Singh
Coordinator, UNITED SIKHS India
E: unitedsikhs-india@unitedsikhs.org

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