Squamous cell cancer on the rise in India

Squamous cell cancer, a type of esophageal cancer, is on rise in India as more people are getting addicted to tobacco, a leading cancer specialist said Thursday.

“Squamous cell cancer - which is one of the types of esophageal cancer - is rising in India. The main cause of this type of carcinoma is tobacco smoking and heavy alcohol. In India smoking and tobacco usage is at a peak so the cases of squamous carcinoma are also rising,” said US-based cancer specialist Tom Ryan DeMeester.

The chairman of surgery department in Southern Carolina University said Adenocarcinoma - which occurs at the glandular cells present at the junction of the esophagus and stomach - is very common in the US. In fact, 90 percent of the cancer cases in the US are diagnosed as adenocarcinoma.

“The main reason is obesity and gastroesophageal reflux diseases due to acidity,” said DeMeester, addressing a programme at Tata Medical Centre here.

Mammen Chandy, the hospital’s director, said due to the changing socio-economic conditions in the country, the number of breast cancer cases was rising.

“Number of patients reporting breast cancer or its symptoms is steadily rising. A day will come when just like Western countries the number of breast cancer patients will surpass that of cervix cancer. This shift from cervix cancer to breast cancer is due to change of socio-economic conditions in the country,” he said.

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