Around 17,000 new cancer patients detected

All types of cancers are on the rise in Sri Lanka. Annually, around 17,000 new cancer patients are detected by the local health system, National Cancer Control Programme Director and Consultant Community Physician Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said.

According to Dr. Samaraweera, the most common cancer among Sri Lankan women is breast cancer. Annually, around 2,500 new breast cancer patients are being detected.

The most common cancer among Sri Lankans is oral cancer. Some cancers can be prevented through vaccines such as HPV vaccine which is now being given to all schoolgirls of Grade Six as well as the vaccine for Hepatitis B.

Dr. Samaraweera was addressing the media workshop held in Colombo, yesterday.

Consultant Community Physician Dr. Nayana De Alwis said daily around seven new breast cancer patients are being detected in Sri Lanka and most of them are in the stages of three or four which cannot be cured. Most of them do not have a five-year survival period. The majority of breast cancer patients are over the age of 50. Early detection of breast cancer saves lives, he said.

Consultant Community Physician Dr. Suraj Perera said although a total of 29,457 new cancer patients have been registered last year, the actual number can be just over 18,000 because sometimes the same cancer patients are registered in two or three hospitals. Annually, between 12,000 and 13,000 persons die from cancer in Sri Lanka.

A total of 82.1 percent had cancer in every 100,000 people in Sri Lanka in 2010. Cancer is the second killer disease in Sri Lanka.

Consultant Dental Surgeon Dr. Prasanna Jayasekara said cancers related to the use of tobacco and arecanut have become common among Sri Lankan children since the recent past because of the use of tobacco and arecanut based products. 

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