Abstract
HEALTH STATUS OF FARM WOMEN IN SOME COTTON GROWING AREAS OF PUNJAB, INDIA

Kumari Nishi, S. S. Hundal* and R. K. Kalra

ABSTRACT

Introduction and Aim: In recent years, insecticide toxicity has become a matter of concern in terms of public health and is postulated to be a forerunner as the primary cancer causing agent. Women engaged in agricultural work or living in agricultural areas may be exposed to higher levels and different types of insecticides than the general population. The present study was conducted to assess the effect of insecticide usage on health of female population in South-West Punjab. Materials and Methods: A survey was conducted in seventeen villages of Bathinda and Muktsar districts of Punjab (India) because of the increased number of cancer cases reported in this area. Female population (n=120) diagnosed with cancer in the age group of 30 to 80 years was interviewed according to the probability proportion to size and compared with females of the region not diagnosed with cancer, which was considered as control. Comprehensive residential insecticide usage and other risk factors were assessed by using an in-person interviewer-administered questionnaire. Results: Prevalence of breast cancer was found to be highest (64.5%) among patients in the age group of 50-54 years. The occurrence of cancer was significantly higher in females with low education level, occupied in farming, exposed to pesticides and belonging to the low income group. Cancer was found to be more prevalent in females with normal Body Mass Index (BMI). Conclusion: This study provides additional thrust that exposure to insecticides, occupational or otherwise, may be a significant contributing factor to the high cancer incidence in this region. Therefore, a reduced use of pesticides is recommended for the female population engaged in agriculture.

Keywords: Cancer, Female, Insecticides, South West Punjab.


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