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The Mumbai Cancer Registry (MCR), which is managed by the Indian Cancer Society, pointed out that from 2010 to 2014, cancer cases have increased from 12,090 to 13,564. These numbers were gathered from a total of 137 medical centres which included hospitals of different levels, nursing homes, and diagnostic facilities in Greater Mumbai.

“We know for a fact that tobacco increases the chances of cancer in the digestive system, head, neck and lung, which are the three most vulnerable cancer sites, according to the incidents reported in 2014,” said medical director Dr. Vinay Deshmane, whilst pointing out the dire need to increase the required interventions.

Suggesting harm reduction products

Back in November, two scientists, R.N. Sharan of the Department of Biochemistry, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), and M. Siddiqi, Chairman of Cancer Foundation of India had written a letter to the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda, urging him to consider policies that facilitate smoking cessation by providing smokers with safe and regulated tobacco alternatives such as electronic cigarettes. They had pointed out that 1 million Indians yearly lose their life to smoking.

ENDS have minimum health and safety concerns compared to the high risks associated with conventional cigarettes.”R.N. Sharan of the Department of Biochemistry, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU)

The leading cancer sites observed in men are lung, mouth, prostate, liver and lymphomas, while latest data suggests that 81% of all cancer cases are diagnosed in individuals who are over 45. “The only reason why older people are more susceptible is because of the degradation of the genetic system of individuals with age. The key here is early diagnosis for a younger age group, because in a majority of the cases, patients are diagnosed only in the later stages of cancer,” said Deshmane.

The opportunity in endorsing e-cigs

As professor Sharan had pointed out back in November, “ENDS have minimum health and safety concerns compared to the high risks associated with conventional cigarettes”, and if endorsed by India, where the general lack of awareness is directly linked to a high percentage of smokers, the benefits reaped by the country would be immeasurable.