High hazard

Incidence of stomach cancer in Leh is four times the national average

Published: Thursday 15 September 2005

-- The rate of stomach cancer prevalence in Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir is alarming. Since the year 2000, as many as 72 cases of stomach cancer have been reported from Leh where 1,17,637 people live, according to a local surgeon. This works out to about four times the national annual average of 4-6 stomach cancer patients per 100,000 people. The data, provided by Tashi Motup, is from the records of the Sonam Nurboo Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in the district.

Earlier, in 1997, a research team at the hospital led by Tsering Nurboo had found almost 95 per cent of the population was infected with the microbe Helicobacter pylori , which is one of the main factors for stomach cancer here.

Nurboo says other factors contributing to high prevalence of stomach cancer are the severe deficiency of fresh vegetables and fruits in diet; high intake of salt (10 grammes/ per day per person) and of barbequed meat, especially in Changthang and Zanskar areas, which are responsible for majority of stomach cancer patients.

-- Tashi Morup Leh

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