According to the latest available data, In 2018, Sri Lanka had a total of 23,530 cancer patients and of this number, 14,013 died from various types of cancers, Consultant Community Physician attached to the National Cancer Control Programme Dr. Suraj Perera said.
It has been revealed that the majority of men are affected by oral cancer while the majority of female patients suffer from breast cancer.
He further said, “We could prevent 1/3rd of all cancers such as oral cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer etc as there are preventative measures that could be taken. Therefore, we need to identify these cancers early and treat them. There are cancer treatment centres throughout the country. There are also over 50 cancer specialists on duty. We have extended the cancer treatment to reach every district hospital. There are 23 cancer centres operating under the Health Ministry. In addition the Kothalawala Hospiral under the Defence Ministry also offers free treatment for cancer patients.
In Sri Lanka a greater number of men are affected by oral cancer due to the chewing of beetle. The tobacco leaves and arecanuts contain cancer causing agents. Annually around 3000 new cases of breast cancer patients are detected while breast cancer accounts for 1/4th of all cancers affecting women.