Cancer is a group of disease involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to attack or spread to other parts of the body.
Cancer caused almost 70% of the 3887 health related deaths in atomic energy hubs across the country over the last 20 years. In all, 2600 people surrendered to cancer in 19 centers between 1995 - 2014.
The query to the Baba Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which like the others, is under the Department of Atomic Energy, had another shocking revelation: 255 employees took their own lives while in harness in the same period, meaning an average of almost one every month over 20 years. Investigations showed most of them took the step due to prolonged illness or family problems.
Cancer is among the top 10 killers in India, and accounts for around 7% of the roughly 9.5 million annual deaths, as estimated by the centers on a senior physician and former teacher at J J Hospital, Byculla.
3,887 deaths among staff at 19 atomic energy centers between 1995 - 2014. Out of that 2,600 of the deaths were cancer-related, 255 suicides -more than one a month, Remaining 1287 deaths due to myriad causes, including cardiac problems, multi organ failure, asthma, tuberculosis, Cirrhosis of liver, hypertension etc.
A Cancer Patient can die of a number of causes. If Cancer occurred in so many people below 60, it is a matter of concern. One of the doctor said that cancer is rising across the world. If the BARC data shows such high cancer mortality, it calls for stringent safety standards.
Doctors said that health related deaths occurred due to the following reasons:
• Cardiac Arrest
• Liver failure
• Multiple Organ Failure
• Cardio-respiratory diseases
• Cirrhosis of liver
• Cerebra Vascular Disease
• Chronic obstructive Pulmonary disease
Several Centers have not dwelt on the reason behind the suicides or how various other illnesses were contracted by the deceased.
Scientist said that, if a person is exposed to radiation, he or she has got more chances of getting cancer. But it is necessary to identify how many radiation units the person has been exposed to and for how long to arrive at a conclusion.
Scientists call for strict safety standard to prevent cancer. Safety and Security measures to prevent causalities are in place at all nuclear power plants. Security and safety instructions issued by various agencies and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board are strictly implemented at all nuclear power plant sites and residential townships.
While cancer is among the top ten killers in India, it accounts for around 7% of the roughly 9.5 million annual deaths, as has been estimated by the Union government’s ongoing Million Death study. Such high cancer mortality is alarming and needs to be analyzed further to check if it occurred among people who were in touch with radioactive material or among the non -scientific staff.