Special Correspondent

A total contradiction of global trends: Study

25 p.c. more women succumbed to the disease in Punjab

Cancer mortality doubled every five years

CHANDIGARH: While increasing cancer deaths have come under considerable scrutiny, Punjab presents a unique case as it reports more women dying due to the disease as compared to men. This finding was revealed in a study conducted by Bajinder Pal Singh in a recently concluded project titled “Cancer deaths in agricultural heartland: a study in Malwa region of Indian Punjab”

Talking to reporters here, Mr. Singh while quoting World Health Organisation (WHO) data disclosed that his findings were in total contradiction to global cancer trends where 30 percent more men die of cancer as compared to women. In Punjab, 25 percent more women, especially homemakers succumbed to the disease. Further, the cancer mortality doubled every five years.

The project which was submitted to International Institute of Geo Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), The Netherlands, was conducted under the guidance of the Head of the School of Geography, University of Southampton (UK), Prof Peter Atkinson, and the Chairman of Department of Earth Information Science, ITC, Prof Ir Alfred Stein. It was funded by a grant from the European Commission.

Mr. Singh, a senior journalist who quit his job to undertake this study said the results were more significant as Punjab returned one of the most adverse sex ratios in the country. The findings open a totally new dimension, since there were few gender studies on cancer in India, he said, adding that it was possible that the trend was not restricted to Punjab alone.

The study, Mr. Singh said included 30 villages across the Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Faridkot, Ferozepur, Sangrur, Barnala and Moga districts of Punjab’s Malwa region. The sample was selected on a random basis and data regarding cancer deaths was obtained for a period of five years between 2002 and 2006, in Punjab’s cotton belt, where excessive use of pesticides has made headlines. The youngest cancer victim was a three year old boy in Bhuttiwala village in Muktsar district, while two four year old girls from Aklian and Jiwanarian villages in Bathinda and Ferozepur districts, respectively, also succumbed to the ailment.