Cancer cases surge at SKIMS

The Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura is facing a concerning surge in cancer cases, with over 6,000 new diagnoses reported annually.

According to official data, Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are the most prevalent type, accounting for 30% of cases, followed by lung and breast cancers

Around 300 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually in Kashmir, while lung cancer poses a significant threat as well, with over 300 new cases reported each year.

The majority of these cases originate from Srinagar district, followed by Anantnag, with the lowest number of cases reported in Shopian.

Over 51,000 cancer cases have been documented in Kashmir over the past four years (2019 to 2022).

The Union Health Ministry’s data reveals that J&K reported an estimated 51,577 cases of cancer, with 12,396 cases in 2019, 12,726 cases in 2020, 13,060 cases in 2021, and 13,395 cases in 2022.

Dr Javid Rasool Bhat, Professor & Head of the Department, Clinical Hematology, Department of Medical Oncology SKIMS told Greater Kashmir that there is a concerning rise in cancer cases in Kashmir.

“There have been significant advancements in the field of oncology, offering a range of innovative therapies for treatment. While cancer incidents are increasing, there are now a variety of therapeutic options available to address this challenge,” he said.

Dr Syed Nisar Ahmad, Associate Professor, Department of Medical Oncology, SKIMS Soura said that the significant advancements in cancer treatment have emerged in recent years.

He said that with the advent of new molecules and targeted therapies, the survival rates for many cancers have improved dramatically.

“Even in advanced stages of cancer, like breast, lung, adrenal, and colorectal cancers, patients can now survive for more than five years. This was not possible a decade ago. With targeted therapy and immunotherapy, even patients with metastatic cancer can live longer and have a better quality of life,” he said.

Dr Ahmad also highlighted the role of advanced imaging techniques, such as USGCT (ultra-fast guided CT) in early cancer detection.

He said that USGCT allows for quick and easy detection of cancer in various organs, including the liver, lung, bone, and kidney.

“Early detection is crucial for successful cancer treatment. With advanced imaging techniques, we can detect cancer at an early stage, when it is more treatable and when the chances of survival are much higher,” he said.

A 2012 study of SKIMS attributed the rising cancer incidence to “dietary practices and lifestyle choices” as well as the intake of foods with high salt content. Numerous dyes are suspected to cause cancer in humans and are frequently used in the food industry.

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