Cases of head and neck cancer on the rise

Kathmandu, July 27

The number of patients suffering from head and neck cancers are on the rise in the country due to increasing environmental pollution and excessive tobacco use.

Head and neck cancer is a group of cancers that starts in or near the throat, voice box, nose, sinuses, or mouth. Head and neck cancers are also known as ENT (ear, nose, throat) cancers. According to director of Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital Lokendra Kumar Shrestha, every day nearly six new patients visit the hospital for the treatment of  ENT cancer.

“The number of people suffering from ENT cancers has almost doubled in the last few years,” he said, adding, “We had only one ENT specialist at the hospital before five years. Due to the increasing number of patients suffering from ENT cancers, we hired five ENT specialists. If the number keeps on increasing like this, we will have to hire few more specialists very soon.”

“Besides regular patients, five to six new cancer patients report to hospital’s ENT department. The main reason of increasing number of patients is tobacco consumption and environmental pollution,” he said.

Nepal Cancer Hospital and Research Centre conducted more than 110 major curative and reconstructive surgeries, 54 minor surgeries and more than 300 endoscopic evaluations in the last six months.  Of the total number of patients suffering from throat cancer worldwide, 30 to 35 per cent are in Nepal and India alone.