When you hear the words ‘lowest incidence of cancer in India’, it sounds unusual, to say the least.
When you hear the words ‘lowest incidence of cancer in India’, it sounds unusual, to say the least.(Photo: iStockphoto)
  • 1. India's Mortality Rate
  • 2. Low Rate of Diagnosis and Lack of Awareness
  • 3. Cancer Diagnosis in India
  • 4. Most Common Cancers in India
  • 5. How Has India’s Approach to Cancer Changed Over the Years?
Does India Really Have the Lowest Cancer Incidence in the World?

When you hear the words ‘lowest incidence of cancer in India’, it sounds unusual, to say the least. However, a 2018 study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, Washington University, concluded the same. According to it, in 2016, India witnessed 106.6 new cases for every 100,000 people. It further ranked tenth among the countries with the lowest incidence of cancer. Now, this is comforting to hear, especially with all the growing instances of cancer one might have stumbled across in our day to day lives. However is this really what it sounds like?

  • 1. India's Mortality Rate

    Dr Jaskaran Singh Sethi, Director and HOD, Radiation Oncology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi, navigates between these stats in the following manner:

    One needs to understand that there are different types of rates – there is an incidence rate, mortality rate. All these are ratios, relative to each other. An incidence rate is the number of freshly reported cases. While the rate of Incidence is low in India, the number is very high because the population of India is so large.
    Dr Jaskaran Singh Sethi

    While the incidence might be low, the number of people who are diagnosed with it is still disturbing. For instance, this report points out that 39 lakh cancer cases were registered in India in 2016, according to the National Cancer Registry data.

    Add to all of this the fact that the cancer burden doubled in India between 1992 to 2018, according to another report.

    Dr Rakesh Chopra, Director, Medical Oncology, Hematology & Bone Marrow Transplant, Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, comments on the high mortality rate in India and says:

    Our mortality rate when compared to the western world is higher by at least 20 to 30 percent, as compared to African and Central Asian countries. On the other hand, India is lower by 10 to 15 percent as compared to South East Asia; worse than some nations, but better than others.

    Too caught up to read? Listen to it here:

    Also Read : ‘My 5-Yr-Old Matured in a Year Post My Cancer Diagnosis’: Podcast

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