Status of cancer cases in India

Why is it in the news?

The ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) presented data in parliament demonstrating the rising burden of cancer in India; even with better treatment, cancer incidence and mortality are increasing in the country. 

What is the cancer incidence and mortality in India currently?

  • As per the data from the National Cancer Registry of ICMR, about 14.6 lakh new cases were detected in 2022; the cases have increased continuously.

  • In 2021 cases were 14.26 lakh, and in 2020 the cases were 13.9 lahks.

  • Cancer deaths increased to 8.08 lakh in 2022 from 7.9 lakh in 2021 and 7.7 lakh in 2020.

  • It is estimated that the cases will increase to 15.7 lahks by 2025. 

  • 1 out of 9 people in India will develop cancer in their lifetime.

  • According to the study, one in 68 men will develop lung cancer, while one in 29 women will develop breast cancer. 

  • The incidence of cancer is higher in women than in men.

  • Cancers common in men are lungs, mouth, prostate, tongue, and stomach.

  • Cancer is common in women in the breast, cervix, ovary, uterus, and lungs. 

  • Cancer is the second cause of death in India after cardiac issues. 

Why are some cancer cases declining?

  • Cervical cancer incidences have dropped from 50 to 10 per 100,000 people in the last 50 years. 

    • The reason for declining is later marriage, few children, hygiene, and vaccination.

    • It can be treated by HPV vaccination.

  • On the other hand, breast cancer cases have increased, especially in urban areas. 

    • The rising rates are later marriage with the first child at an older age, not breastfeeding, and a high protein diet. 

    • This intervention can be found only by screening because the cause of breast cancer is still unknown. 

  • Oral and oesophageal cancer cases are also going down. The experts are saying it is mainly because of tobacco laws that have to bring down smoking in public places. 

  • Lung cancer is the main concern because it is not only caused by smoking. 

    • In Arunachal Pradesh, the incidence of lung cancer is high because they light a fire indoors in the winter.

    • In Bihar, women get lung cancer more because they cook foods on the chullahs.

    • The pollution in Delhi will affect the people living in Delhi in the next ten years. 

    • The survival rate for lung cancer is low and mostly diagnosed in the later stages. 

How is the improvement?

  • The cure rate of most cancers is rising, and some people have also completely fought cancer. 

  • The cure rate for pancreatic cancer has improved by two times. 

  • For prostate cancer, the cure rate has gone up to 100%.

  • Breast cancer has improved from 50% to 90% by using new treatments.

  • The mortality rates have not shown any changes because people get diagnosed in the late stage. If they get diagnosed early, they may get timely treatment. 

What are the ways to bring down the mortality rates?

  • Screening 

    • It should be done for the most common cancers, which are breast, cervical, and oral. These account for 34% of cancers in India.

    • It is believed that “dual stain testing” is the best screening tool for cervical cancer screening.

    • Low-dose CT is best for testing lung cancer in those with a smoking history.

    • For breast cancer, self-examination of the breast is not a good method to screen, so it is required to find the best method for this. 

    • The government has taken action and improvised the health and wellness centres with better facilities and equipment. 

    • The government has started various programs to make people aware of cancer. 

  • There is a need to coordinate efforts. The programs started by the government are working independently, so there is a need to work together so that those diagnosed can reach the hospital.

  • The WHO (World Health Organization) said that there should be one radiotherapy machine per million population in developing countries. So like this, India needs 1400 machines, and there are only 700. 


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