New Delhi, June 30 : Women contribute nearly 30 per cent of the cancer burden in India and nearly two-thirds of them are from the low socio-economic background, doctors said on Friday.
According to the them, the habit of tobacco consumption, smoking bidis and unhealthy habits are the prime causes behind the rise in various types of cancer among the women from lower strata of the society.
Incidence of oral, lung, stomach, cervical and oesophageal cancer are most common among these women.
Currently, cancer accounts for second-highest mortality rate in India, which alone contributes 50 per cent of it in the world.
“Consumption of tobacco has seriously hit the women in recent years. They are not just causing cancers to themselves but also affecting fertility and even delayed conception,” said P.K. Malhotra, Senior Consultant, International Medicine at city-based Saroj Super Specialty Hospital.
Recent surveys have found that 6,000 children under the age of 14 years get addicted to tobacco every day, including girls.
Malhotra said that various medical studies had also proved that female smokers in India had lifespan reduced by 10 years in comparison to non-smokers.
Out of 12.5 lakh (1.25 million) new cancer patients each year in India, over seven lakh are women.
Piyush Rawat, associated with Oncology research at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said the major factors contributing to deteriorating cancer levels among the patients were lack of awareness and unavailability of resources, due to which they would know about the disease many a time only at the last stage.
“It is strictly advised for the women to stop smoking and chewing tobacco to eradicate the epidemic and contribute to India’s development. Even quitting the tobacco–the biggest factor for cancer–the patients can have 90 per cent avoidance in cancer and other diseases,” said Rawat.