The last two decades were marked by unbridled violence in Kashmir. People suffered a great deal on account of being sandwiched between three nuclear-armed rivals. However, one more demon was rearing its head, slowly and steadily, and growing its tentacles below the radar-Cancer. Fast food, sedentary lifestyle, exposure to mobile radiation, soft drinks and smoking are considered to be one of the most primary reasons of cancer in Kashmir.
In the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, the total number of cancer cases has had a phenomenal increase. Interestingly, the number of male patients having cancer is more than females-as the Sher-i-kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) have registered at least 12,462 male cancer patients out of the total 22,520 patients in five years.
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These numbers may go further up given the number of cancer patients who seek treatment outside the state has also grown up in the last two decades. What went wrong in Kashmir? Did we alter our eating patterns? Given that the pollution in Kashmir is comparatively low as compared t outside states and the fact the quality we drink is also better as compared to many states. The fact that Kashmir valley is one of the highest consumers of tobacco products in the country is one of the main reasons why the number of cases of lung cancer is high from the state of Jammu and Kashmir UT.
Some observers have also raised concerns about the quality of cancer treatment available in the valley. There is a need felt in social circles about a separate cancer hospital in Kashmir given the increase in the number of cases. The government needs to create more awareness in people about the disease which is often referred to as the “Mother of all diseases”. Besides, just to prevent the cases of cancer due to passive smoking the authorities must implement strict ban on smoking in public places.