The fear of Covid among people has reduced which in turn is leading to greater number of cancer patients turning up for treatment unlike the first year of the pandemic, said several oncologists in the city.
Covid vaccines have reinstalled confidence among patients, the oncologists said.
October is the breast cancer awareness month and a study in Kolkata showed that breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer among women in Bengal.
According to National Cancer Registry Programme conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Bengal fact sheet shows 24.8 per cent women among the new patients have breast cancer.
Among women, after breast cancer, cervical cancer is most prevalent at 9.9 per cent, followed by ovarian, 7.6 per cent, gall bladder, 7.3 per cent, and lung at 6.6 per cent.
The study also shows that 79 per cent of the breast cancer cases are detected at a reasonably early stage.
“This means that patients have now realised the importance of self examination and have been reporting earlier than before. Early detection increases the chances of cure and long term survival. Also, there are increased chances of breast conservation surgery,” said surgical oncologist Gautam Mukhopadhyay, secretary, Bengal Oncology Foundation.
The foundation has been carrying campaigns to raise awareness about the need to seek treatment.
In the second year of the pandemic the number of patients reporting are more than double compared to the first year.
At Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre & Research Institute the number of new cancer patients was 6,500 as against 11,000 before the pandemic. This year it is already 10,000.
Senior medical oncologist Chandrani Mallik said that there is about 60 to 70 per cent increase in patients this year.
“Last year, some breast cancer patients came in at an advanced stage. This year patients are coming at a fairly early stage,” said Mallik.
Mukhopadhyay said that once the travel restrictions are withdrawn, more patients from Bangladesh and Bhutan are expected to be treated in the city.
Arnab Gupta director of Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre & Research Institute said that earlier cervical and uterine cancers were common amongst women which has now become breast.
“Breast cancer is to do with lifestyle changes and is seen more in urban areas,” said Gupta.
Mallik said that self breast examination is something that all women should do and consult a doctor at the earliest if need be.