Esophageal cancer in Kashmir — an assessment
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Kashmir, with its culturally distinct population with uniform and stable dietary habits, provides an interesting field area for studying the relevance of diet in human esophageal carcinogenesis. In the absence of several features of life-style normally associated with increased incidence of the disease, the local food habits appear to be critical factors in the etiology of this cancer in Kashmir. Evidence from our preliminary studies shows a considerable dietary exposure to preformed N-nitroso compounds in the local population. In addition, the potential endogenous formation of N-nitroso compounds, caused by high precursor contents in certain foodstuffs, enhances the relevance of these compounds as possible risk factors for esophageal and other gastrointestinal cancers in this region. The quantitative assessment of total human exposure to N-nitroso compounds and their exact significance to the high cancer incidence in Kashmir requires carefully planned environmental monitoring and prospective epidemiological studies.
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