‘Odisha has highest number of oral cancer patients in the world’

Bhubaneswar: Tobacco is the single most studied cause which leads to cancer and Odisha is the biggest example as it has the highest number of oral cancer patients in the world as per the new oral cancer detection method, said Biren Banerjee, MD of in-DNA Life Science Ptv Ltd, today.

Discussing the topic ‘The Current scenario of cancer in India’, at the 7th annual convention Foresight-2017 of the Odisha Television (OTV) at the Mayfair Convention Hall here, he said the cancer situation in Odisha in terms of oral cancer is very grim which we all have to be aware of. “I have seen some teachers in rural areas in Odisha chewing tobacco while teaching their students in the classroom which is a part of their culture and habit. The children who look up to their faculty are also eager to chew tobacco.  The state government should take necessary steps in this regard,” Banerjee said.

He further said oral cancer is treatable. When you notice early changes in your mouth cavity, you should consult a doctor immediately so that you will be completely cured.

“To properly address the issue, we need a DNA technology to know our own genes. The cancer scenario is here to stay thanks to our lifestyle, the growing population in the world and our lifespan which has increased dramatically. So, people having experience of cancer may not die of cancer. In this context I must say that cancer will be our way of life, he said while citing instances of dashing cricketer Yuvraj Singh who is a cancer survivor. While telling the audience not to get panicked about cancer, rather be aware of this disease.

He said he has set India’s first DNA based platform called in-DNA Life Sciences in this smart city of Bhubaneswar where we look for solutions for life in DNA.

Stating that Bhubaneswar is one of the best smart cities in the country, Banerjee said being a smart city, the state capital also need smart healthcare facilities.

He said there is lack of population or community specific targets. “We grow like pharma model but we are not taking people and clinicians to our fold. We are implementing western model in India which is not working. Besides, there is lack of scientipreneurs or scientists starting diagnostic companies,” he pointed out.

Talking about the high cost involvement in the diagnosis of cancer, Banerjee said “We are trying to decrease the cost in a developing economy like India and looking into solutions for our problems. We are transitioning from sales to DNA and we are in an era of precision medicine. Earlier, there was symptom or intuition based medicine. Now we have a pattern or evidence based medicine. In future, you will have a database medicine. All of you may have a Genome card in your pocket like a credit card.

To a question on how bad is the cancer situation in India and what are the reasons that have led to a spurt in the number of cancer in recent years, Banerjee said any healthcare situation in India when we compare to the rest of the world, we always come first because India is the most populated country in the world. “The changing lifestyle, starting from the farmer class to software class we have travelled journey of hard working and perspiring individuals to the comfortable individuals. But our cells, which have taken millions of years to develop, do not know whether you are rich and not working hard. In short, the environment has changed so also our food and lifestyle. Our life expectancy is more now. All these factors have changed our DNA and made us more susceptible to cancer,” he observed.

Cancer is not a disease. It is a disorder of genes which we acquire in our lifestyle. “When cells declare war against that they are not going to die any more, it is called cancer,” he noted.

To another question on barring the genetic factor, is there any other factors which cause cancer, he said any biological life is a mixture of your nature and nurture. It depends how you nurture the environment and what we are born with. As we are governed by our DNA which we inherit from our parents, we may inherit some genes that are susceptible to cancer which we expedite the process by our lifestyle by smoking, alcohol and high fat diet.

There are five important factors which govern almost 80 percent of the cancer. They are obesity, lack of vegetables in the diet, exposure to different environment like pollution, addiction habits and ageing.

He, however, said cancer is not a deadly disease that one cannot manage. The disease aggravates due to late diagnosis and lack of awareness. People don’t know that they are living with cancer.