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Home News and Update Year 2010 Skin Cancer Threat Looms

Skin Cancer Threat Looms

Times of India
06 September 2010
By Prithvijit Mitra

Here is a look at the horrific side of arsenic poisoning. Musharaf Hussain, 29, of Kaliachak in Malda has a festering, malignant ulcer on his head, nodules all over his back and arms and wart–like sores on his legs. He has skin cancer, induced by arsenic contamination of groundwater.

Skin Cancer Threat Looms
The disease now afflicts nearly 2% of the state’s arsenic–affected. With more than 1,000 recorded cases of arsenic poisoning in Kolkata, the city, too, could soon have patients like Hussain, warn doctors. "If kept untreated, arsenicinduced warts and sores could turn cancerous," said Ashish Mukhopadhyay, director, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute, where Hussain is under treatment.

The youngster has undergone several surgeries but he is still in danger. "There are thousands in his neighbourhood and even in Kolkata who are still dependent on underground, arsenic–contaminated water," said Mukhopadhyay. A state government survey puts the number of arsenic affected in Bengal at 2089. Kolkata had 962 victims. Time may be running out for many of them, fear doctors.

"There are thousands with arsenic–induced nodules. Many might have already got skin cancer but are yet to be diagnosed," said Subir Ganguly, senior oncologist.

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