Kiphire dist grappling with surge in nasopharyngeal cancer cases

A view of District Hospital Kiphire. In recent years, Kiphire district has found itself grappling with a concerning rise of Nasopharyngeal cancer cases. (Morung Photo)

•    Food habits like smoked pork, tobacco, alcohol suspected to be behind rise in cancer cases

•    Patients coming for check-up in last stages complicates the case

•    Thyroid and breast cancer emerging causes of concern among women


P Achumse Yingbithongru
Kiphire | February 7

In a world where medical breakthroughs often capture headlines, there’s one adversary that continue to challenge researchers, clinicians, and patients alike- cancer.

In recent years, Kiphire district in Nagaland has found itself grappling with a concerning rise in nasopharyngeal cancer cases. This alarming cancer trend was revealed by Dr Tiakumzuk Sangtam, Pathologist at District Hospital Kiphire (DHK) to The Morung Express. 

According to Dr Tiakumzuk, nasopharyngeal cancer has been the most common and reported case detected in Kiphire in the last 3 year in both male and female. 

He said nasopharyngeal carcinoma is being diagnosed among adults between the age group from 30-50 years in both the sexes. Besides nasopharyngeal cancer, thyroid and breast cancer are also reported from the district, he also informed. 

Dr Tiakumzuk said thyroid cancer was more common among female between the age group of 30-50 years. 

As far as cases of breast cancer are concerned, he said female in the age of 50 years constitute majority of the case. 

He pointed out that what makes treatment difficult is because majority of patient come for check-up only in the last stages which complicate the case. 

Adding to the myriad of problems, he said the lack of definitive diagnostic facilities, people attitude towards health seeking and behavioral approach leads to missing out on many cases thus effecting data, which shows very less case of cancer in Kiphire district.

Sharing his medical observation about the high incidences of nasopharyngeal cancer in the district, Dr Tiakumzuk said eating habits such as smoked pork, fish, alcohol and tobacco is suspected to be behind high rise of cancer cases. He also attributed it to susceptible condition for infections especially with Type-A Epstein-Barr Virus, including poor ventilated households etc.

Dr Tiakumzuk said in most cancer cases, ‘ignorance of early signs and symptoms of cancer leading to either undetected or late stage detection on the part of patients’ needs to improve to avoid fatal outcome.

He also stated that poor socio-economic condition to get treatment outside the district, when the patients cannot even avail basic medical facility provided in the district was also one of reason why the district is seeing steady rise of cancer related death in the district. 

He also added that the lack of infrastructure and facility for various type of cancer detection in the district was compounding the fight against cancer in the district despite the best effort put in by the medical professionals of DHK.

He remarked that fight against cancer should not only fall on the shoulders of medical professionals and advocated for proper education and awareness at rural areas by all like-minded people.

Furthermore, raising awareness about cancer prevention, screening, and early detection is paramount in empowering individuals to take charge of their health and reduce their risk of developing disease, Dr Tiakumzuk added.