Official statistics reveal that nearly 200 new patients are detected with cancer every year in Goa, half of whom are women. Concerned by this alarming rise in the number of cancer cases in the state, the Goa government a few years ago had launched a cancer registry program, under which the state Directorate of Health Services (DHS) was authorized to maintain a record of cancer patients throughout the state. The Goa chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) is in talks with the state drug controller for a study which could link consumption of commercially reared chicken called 'broilers' to the rise of cancer and hormonal imbalance.
IMA spokesperson Sitakant Ghanekar, at a press conference on the occasion of National Doctors Day, said, "The association had also spoken to state Food and Drugs Authority officials to jointly conduct the survey with seven other government departments. Through the comprehensive study, we will try to establish links between the broiler chicken and other products that we eat, to the rise of cancer and hormonal imbalances in Goa. If you ask any of the pediatricians, what age menarche (first menstrual cycle) was coming before. I remember in our childhood it was 14 or 15, then it became 12 and 10 but now we even see cases of eight. There is some sort of hormonal derailment. Polycystic ovarian diseases as well as ovarian cancers are increasing."
The IMA office bearer also said, "In the West, a study similar to the one which is being conceived here, especially among students, had pointed to consumption of hormone-injected broiler as one of the reasons for the ailments. The DHS would be one of the seven agencies along with the agriculture department, Goa Medical College and the Food and Drugs Authority, among others, to be part of the study, which would be long term and very extensive."