The number of patients affected by various types of cancer in Sri Lanka has alarmingly increased since 2009, the government information department quoted the Ministry of Health as saying.
It said that around 14,000 cases had been detected since 2009 and it has reached an annual figure of 20,000.
The Ministry said 10 types of cancers such as oral, cervical, thyroid, esophagus, lung, womb, breast, rectum, brain, blood, and prostrate are common in Sri Lanka.
The Director of the National Cancer Control Programme Dr. Miss Neelamani Paranagama said that preventive measures and early detection of the deadly disease are vey important since there are around 60,000 cancer patients in the country at present.
She said that many people have a tendency to have cancer due to unhealthy lifestyles, congenital and hereditary defects and abnormality in the genes. She said that chewing betel, smoking and consumption of liquor are main causes for oral, lung and brain cancers.
Dr. Paranagama said that about 90 per cent of the oral cancer cases were due to chewing betel.with lime, tobacco and arecanut which contain substances that could cause cancer.