‘City cops to consult TMH on cancer deaths in force’

Mumbai; Concerned over the growing number of cancer deaths in the force, the Mumbai police will soon hold consultations with the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) to carry out a study to address the issue.

Reacting to a disclosure made by FPJ (on September 12), Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Barve said, “We are going to discuss with cancer specialists at TMH to establish the potential reasons that contribute to cancer fatalities in the force.

We will have to check if the present pattern is associated with an overall increase in carcinogen levels -- due to pollution -- or factors typical to policemen in the city,” Barve said.

FPJ’s report had detailed how in the last five-and-a-half years (between 2014 and May 2019), cancer deaths, which were rare in the 45,000 Mumbai police force until a decade ago, have emerged as the second-largest cop-killer.

Of the 807 serving policemen who died due to various ailments in that period, 78 had succumbed to cancer. Heart ailments -- associated with erratic duty schedules, long commuting hours, unhealthy food and working conditions -- topped the list with a toll of 178 deaths.

“We will also try to ascertain if the mortality rate in the force due to cancer is the same like what is prevailing in the population of the state, or it is higher. This will give a clearer picture on the issue,” Barve said.

The statistics obtained by this newspaper from senior oncologists in the city indicated that the instances of the disease is way above the state average.

While in the last three years, the cancer mortality rate in the state (with 11,306 deaths against 11 crore population) remained 0.009 per cent, for the force it was around 0.039 per cent.

Nevertheless, the overall mortality figures (807) in the Mumbai police was equivalent to the total police strength in a district like Dhule, or the staff in four-five police stations in Mumbai city.

Deaths due to liver aliments (67) occupied the third slot in the chart, while tuberculosis(TB) and other lung/respiratory diseases accounted for 36 deaths. Kidney failure and other urinary diseases accounted for 21 deaths during that period. Diabetics related deaths stood at 5 in the list.

By Debasish Panigrahi

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