Cancer Cluster is defined as a cluster in which the occurrence of cancer is in greater number than expected in a particular geographical area over a period of time. The region is called cancer cluster when thesame type of cancer or cancer which are scientifically proven to havethe same cause has multiple cases.
There have been many cancer clusters which have arisen in the past decades.
For instance, in Shannon, Quebecmultiple cases of cancers were found in the period of 1953-2010 because of trichloroethylene. Trichloroethylene is a halocarbon which is used as an industrial solvent and is non-flammable.
Also for Fallon, Nevada around 1997-2002 where Leukemia’s cancer cluster was formed due to Arsenic, Tungsten, and DDE.
The statistics for these are all around the globe. But our India is not far behind the race.
The experts at Capitol Hospital will take a closer look at the different cancer clusters around India so as to enlighten us all.
- CHHAPRAULA INDUSTRIAL AREA, GREATER NOIDA, UTTAR PRADESH
Around 5 villages in Chhapraula Industrial Area have seen an increase in the cancer cases in the last 4-5 years. The villages are all around 30 -35Kms of our national capital, Delhi. These villages include Sadopur, Achheja, Sadullapur, Bishnuli, and KheraDharampura.
The alarmingly high number of cases in this region is because of the groundwater deterioration. According to the villagers of this belt, it is because of the industrial area which has been set up here. Prior to that, the water was of superior quality.
The industrial area has more than 100 factories ranging from cosmetics, pesticides to adhesives. The effluents of these industries are not being disposed of thoroughly. All the effluents are dumped in the water. There is no drainage system to carry the harmful emissions away which results in the dump being put in the ground. The test done on the groundwater of this area has proved to be inconclusive. Most of the cancers in this region are in the stomach and liver.Many other diseases have also penetrated the lives of these people like hepatitis, liver disorders, and water-related skin diseases. Even hepatitis is a major cause ofLung cancer.
If the statistics are to be believed, the 5 villages near the capital city of India is the emerging cancer belt.
- MALWA REGION, PUNJAB
In 2009,CarinSmit, Board Certified Toxicologist of South Africa took hair and urine samples of children to Germany from Faridkot district of Punjab and in these findings, it was inferred that 88% of the samples had ahigh level of uranium.
The hotspot Malwa region has high levels of chemical, biological and radioactive toxicity. Uranium Contamination is actively involved in many deformities found in the children of this region. The groundwater of the region was contaminated by the industrial effluents, and through agricultural practices like irrigation was included in the food chain too.
Even the fly ash from the coal burnt at thermal power plants has contributed to thehigh level of uranium in the air and the surrounding area.
20% of the sampled wells in the region haveshown nitrate levels above 50mg/l, which is above the safety level established by WHO. The research blamed thehigh use of nitrogen fertilizers for this.
This all has resulted in a sharp increase of various ailments and increase in the number of cancer cases making this region as the caner belt of India. In Muktsar district of Punjab in the early 2000s, more than 1000 people died of cancer.
- WEST BENGAL
West Bengal region is classified as a cancer cluster. It saw a significant increase in cancer cases in this region, especially in gallbladder cancer. More than 2000 cases of cancer were registered here in between the period of 2010-2012.The registered cases ranged from 50-55 years of age in mostly rural areas.
Even in the mid-1980s, there were cases of arsenic poisoning which leads to cancers of bladder, kidney, liver,and lung.Arsenic Poisoning is a condition in which human body has more elevated levels of arsenic. The symptoms may include vomiting, abdominal pain etc. The main cause for this is contaminated drinking water. The contamination can also occur due to agricultural practices or mining. The crop of rice is most susceptible to gather the arsenic from the soil.
India has seen a significant growth in the rise of cancer. But so has India’s healthcare. There are ample facilitiesin our region now and the hospitals are fully equipped to see that we live a healthier life if we or our loved one do get these diseases. All we have to do is be awareand visit a doctor when required.