Increasing cancer in India, time to act-early: World Cancer Day

Need of hour to understand the increasing cancer incidence as a public problem
  • After China and America, India is at no 3 for cancer burden. Worlwide cancer is responsible for nearly 1 in 6 death (GLOBOCAN 2022 data)
  • According to 2022 data in India 14 lacs cases detected and 8lacs died each year because of cancer.
  • Cancer cases every year may increase to 15 lacs by 2025 and 20 lacs by 2030.
  • One in 68 males (lung cancer), 1 in 29 females (breast cancer), and 1 in 9 Indians will develop cancer during their lifetime.
  • More than 20% increase in cancer burden in last 10 years.
  • In India half of cancer cases are in age group 40-64 years while globally half cases occur in >65 years, so increasingly younger population is getting affected in India.

Link to study

1 out of 9 Indian is at risk of developing cancer
Among Males
Among Feales
Causes of rising cancer incidences:

Cancer is a multifactorial disease caused by many reasons interacting together. As per most cancer specialists common causes of cancer includes:

  • Cancer is more common in older age; mostly > 50 years, with increasing life expectancy, cancer cases are also increasing with better detection technologies available. Cases are also increasing in <50 years age group
  • Tobacco: one third of the cancers are caused by tobacco, yet it is readily available.
  • Alcohol: 6 lac cancer deaths per year are attributable to alcohol consumption.
  • Obesity: Around 8% cancer cases are attributed to obesity and it increase cancer related mortality by 17%
  • Diet: Excess use of high energy- low nutrition food, low fibre diet, high fat, red meat etc is associated to an extent in upto 40% of cancer
  • Pollution: 1 in 10 cases of lung cancer is associated with pollution.
  • Infections like human papilloma virus, hepatitis B, H.pylori
  • Changing Lifestyle with late age of marriage and first pregnancy, irregular dietary routine.
Early Onset Cancer: Why cancer is increasing in younger age group less than 50 years?

More than half of cancer in India are in age group 40-65 years which is atleast a decade younger than western population and the risk is increasing with each successive generation.

    • Prey of marketing strategy of BOGOF (bye one get one free) junk foods.
    • Food adulteration is a problem persisting without getting noticed.
    • Increasing environmental pollution and chemical exposure
    • Modern lifestyle with sedentary habits, processed food, late onset marriage, late first pregnancy, increasing alcohol consumption.
    • Underutilization of Screening Methods: routine laboratory health checkup in not at all a routine screening of cancer.
What can be done? How to prevent cancer and increase cancer survival

To avoid cancer and increase cancer survivorship, certain mantras and measures are advised by Dr. Kaushal Yadav, Surgical Oncologist in Gurgaon, Delhi NCR

  • Fitness mantra: One minute of moderate-intensity physical activity provides seven minutes of additional life. Regular exercise reduces risk of cancer by 10-20%. Do 30min of moderate exercises atleast 5 days a week.
  • Diet Mantra: Healthy diet reduced cancer risks in 30-50% cases. Fiber rich diet with atleast one serving of fruit and vegetable each. Balance diet has 45%-55% carbohydrates, 25-30% proteins, 15-30%. Avoid red and processed meat.
  • Lifestyle Mantra: Avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol will prevent 1/3rd cancer cases. Increase green cover and limit pollution.
  • Screening Mantra: Pap smear, mammography, colonoscopy, LDCT as per recommendation are shown to decrease cancer mortality by >35%. HPV vaccination is advised by WHO.
  • Genetic Mantra: though genetic factors contribute only in around 10% cases, but when advised genetic testing can help in taking preventive measures.
  • Early Treatment: One of the biggest factors for rising cancer mortality is lacking of acceptance for early treatment. <20% patients are taking adequate early treatment.
How Surgical Oncologist can help?

80% of cancer patients will require surgery during their course of disease yet only 25% were able to receive safe and effective surgery in time. One problem is lesser availability in more needed areas and other is people’s anxiety to accept appropriate treatment in metros in this digital era. Timely approach to surgical oncologist leads to early diagnosis, staging and treatment advise in most accurate way. Surgery can cure precancerous lesions. Surgery in stage 1 has >90% chances of cure in most of solid cancers.

             “Applying preventive measure, adopting screening and assuring early treatment are the sound practices to avert cancer epidemic.

 Difficult but simple choices of avoiding tobacco, alcohol, junk food, adopting vaccination and screening in oncology clinic or hospital rather than home collection and contacting a surgical oncologist in time are few of way forwards in fight against cancer.

To Know more about cancer:

Related Video on Cancer Causes and Cancer Prevention

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