By Lilit Harutiunian
The incidence of cancer in Armenia has grown by at least 50 percent over the past two decades, a senior medical official said on Wednesday, singling out smoking and poor diet among the reasons for that.
The latest disease data released by Hayrapet Galstian, director of the National Center for Oncology, show about 7,300 officially registered cases of cancer in 2007.
The figure is sharply up from about 5,000 such cases registered in 1985. The country had a considerably larger population at the time.
According to Galstian, breath cancer accounts for much of the increase, even if lung cancer remains the most common oenological disease, having affected about 1,300 Armenians in 2007. “The rate of growth of breast cancer is now higher than that of lung cancer,” he told journalists, adding that some 1,100 women were diagnosed with the disease in 2007.
Galstian said high rates of smoking among Armenians and a poor quality of food consumed by them are the main factors behind the alarming rise. He admitted that recent years’ shrinkage of green areas in Yerevan and other parts of the country has also contributed to it.