GUWAHATI, Jan 3 - Researchers and doctors at the city-based Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) have shown that in 2010 more than 50 per cent of patients with hypopharynx cancer, commonly referred to as throat cancer, did not undergo treatment or dropped out during the course of treatment.
Thus, for patients diagnosed way back in 2010, the five-year survival was around 37 per cent, which is lower compared to the rate in developed countries. It means that only 37 per cent of patients with throat cancer could live beyond five years, as per the study published in the Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery.
�Throat cancer is one of the most common cancers in the North East in general and Assam in particular. The incidence of throat cancer in both men and women of this region is the highest in the country. Around 87 per cent of patients afflicted with throat cancer were detected at a very advanced stage,� as per the study.
According to Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, Director of BBCI, late detection of the disease could be due to lack of awareness and poor socio-economic condition of those patients to access the facilities for early cancer diagnosis.
�Besides, there are limited diagnostic centres in rural areas for early diagnosis of the throat and esophageal cancers. Patients are required to travel to major towns or cities for the diagnosis. To mitigate this problem, experts from BBCI have been conducting rural common cancer screening camps from time to time at multiple locations,� he said.
Dr Kataki said with the introduction of Atal Amrit Abhiyan and Ayushman Bharat/PMJAY schemes for funding cancer treatment, there has been a considerable improvement in the compliance to treatment by poor patients. �It is expected that this will help improve outcomes in the future,� said Dr Kataki.
He added that BBCI had participated in a nationwide multicentric study, which showed that out of 1.40 lakh patients with head and neck cancers, around 90,000 of them did not receive optimal treatment, which resulted in the poor outcome. This was published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention in 2016.
Dr Manigreeva Krishnatreya, the lead author of the latest paper, said the treatment protocol for hypopharyngeal cancers is evolving over the years.
�So far, the main modality of treatment alone or in combination for patients with hypopharyngeal cancers is radiotherapy. Analysis of the clinical parameters, treatment categories and five-year survival from the perspective of real-world data is important for planning and control of hypopharyngeal cancers in this part of the country,� stated Dr Krishnatreya.