Guwahati: Assam has the highest number of
patients with cancer of the oesophagus in the country with
betel nut and tobacco chewing being the major contributors.
An estimated 25 per cent of all cancers in men and 15
per cent in women were in the oesophagus with Kamrup district
leading with highest incidence of the disease in the state,
according to a survey conducted by the Regional Medical
Research Centre, Dibrugarh in collaboration with the B Barooah
Cancer Institute, Guwahati.
Oesophagal cancer in men is detected from the age of
late 40s-early 50s and reaches the peak by the age of 60-65
while in women it tends to strike from 50-54 years of age and
reaches the peak by 70-75 years.
The study also found that a person who chews 20 or
more betel nuts per day has a 13 time higher risk of
developing oesophagal cancer than a person who does not.
Intake of 5-10 betel nuts per day increases the risk
by 2.5 times while one who has been chewing betel nuts for
more than 20 years carries a 10-fold higher risk.
If a person consumes alcohol and smoke cigarettes in
addition to chewing betel nut, the risk increases by an
additional 4-5 folds.