Majority of Lankans liable to contract cancer

By Don Asoka Wijewardena  

Around 84 per cent of people in Sri Lanka are liable to develop various forms of cancers. Smoking, alcohol consumption and chewing betel are believed to be the main causes.

Director General Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala addressing a media conference yesterday at the Health Education Bureau in view of the World Cancer Day, which falls on February 04, said that people developing various forms of cancers had increased owing to the consumption of betel, liquor consumption and smoking.

Dr. Maheepala said that the commonest cancers prevalent in the country were breast, cervical, esophagus, lung, bowel and oral. It was found that chewing betel with areca nut, tobacco and lime, had been the main cause of oral cancers among people, especially among estate workers, bus drivers and conductors. Smokers were also prone to develop oral and lung cancers.

National Cancer Control Programme’s Dr. Suraj Perera said that most women were shy of having their breasts examined by doctors. If they felt any hardness on their breasts it was advisable for them to get timely medical attention as early detection could be advantageous.

Dr. Hemantha Amerasinghe of the NCCP said that most people were not conscious of their health. The commonest symptoms of cancers were red or white rashes in the mouth, inflammation of the thyroid glands, blood in stools, change of the voice, hardness of breasts and unusual vaginal discharge.

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