Cancer Deaths Rising In India When Nearly 60% Can be Prevented
This highlights the need for early detection, better access, and affordable cancer care for Indians.
Cancer is the second biggest killer in India, with 8.3 percent of all deaths in 2016 occurring because of it. This is double the contribution of cancer deaths in 1990, found a new study published in The Lancet. To put it in stark numbers, in these 26 years, there has been a 112.8 percent increase in deaths due to cancer.
However, the age-adjusted cancer prevalence rate has remained the same. That’s because of the change in our age structure over the years. Most cancer cases occur in the older population, which is growing in the country. When that is standardised across the younger population, the rate remains the same even as the number of cases increase.
This highlights the need for early detection, better access, and affordable cancer care for Indians as they grow up.
Speaking to FIT, Dr Prashant Mathur, one of the lead authors of the study said:
Nearly 60 percent of all cancer deaths or cases can be prevented. There needs to be better awareness and access to care to bring down these numbers.
Tobacco, alcohol, air pollution, unsafe sex, and lifestyle factors have been identified as the major reasons behind rising cancer cases.
The ten types of cancers responsible for the highest number of cases are cancers of stomach, breast, lung, lip and oral cavity, pharynx, colon and rectum, leukaemia, cervical, oesophageal, and brain and nervous system.
In women, the top two types of cancers are breast cancer and cervical cancer, while in men, it’s lung cancer and lip and oral cavity cancer.
The results show that India has managed to bring down cases of cervical and oesophageal cancer, but the rising graph of cancers of the breast, liver and lungs have contributed to a steep rise. While presenting the data, Dr Mathur said that 43 percent of all lung cancers are caused by air pollution, while 3.3 percent cancer cases in total can be traced to pollution.
He added that there are two vaccinations, against Hepatitis B and HPV, which everyone should get to prevent some cancers. Hepatitis B causes most liver cancers and HPV causes cervical cancer.
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