GUWAHATI, April 11 - A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati, and the Mahavir Cancer Sansthan and Research Centre (MCSRC), Patna, to facilitate research and academic collaboration between the two hospitals. The MoU was signed by BBCI Director Dr Amal Chandra Kataki and MCSRC Director Dr Biswajit Sanyal, said a press release here.
Siddharth Singh, Secretary, Public Health Engineering Department, Government of Assam, was the chief guest on the occasion.
Prof Ashok Ghosh, Chairman of the Bihar State Pollution Control Board and also a reputed researcher on arsenic contamination of water, delivered a guest lecture on arsenic poisoning and cancer. Prof Ghosh highlighted the growing menace of arsenic and the urgent need to mitigate the problem.
Speaking on the occasion, Siddharth Singh said groundwater in 24 districts of the State are contaminated with arsenic and around 24 lakh people are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of arsenic poisoning. Singh stressed the need for generating awareness about the problem among the public.
Dr Amal Chandra Kataki said globally one per cent of all cancers are caused due to environmental pollution. The proportion of cancers due to air and water pollution will be higher in the absence of implementation of stringent pollution control norms.
BBCI has collaborated with the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer of Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, to identify lifestyle and environmental risk factors for gall bladder cancer.
At present, there are no strategies for prevention of gall bladder cancer and it is extremely fatal in nature.
According to Dr Manigreeva Krishnatreya of BBCI, there is sufficient evidence of cancer caused in human bodies by arsenic compounds ingested with food or water.
Arsenic is an established risk factor for cancers of liver, skin, lung, kidney and urinary bladder, and also causes skin diseases and peripheral vascular disease, added Dr Krishnatreya.
The Department of Cancer Registry and Epidemiology at BBCI earlier collaborated with the Department of Geography, Gauhati University and identified cancer �hot spots� in Kamrup district.
Research has shown that consumption of average two litres of contaminated ground water per day leads to ingestion of 50 mg of arsenic in per litre of water in most of the districts in Assam.