14.5 lakh new cancer cases likely this year

The dis­ease strikes 1 in 8 men and 1 in 9 women across In­dia

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Rhythma Kaul rhythma.kaul@hin­dus­tan­times.com

One in eight men and one in nine women in In­dia will de­velop some form of cancer in their life­time, lat­est gov­ern­ment data re­veals, point­ing to a health cri­sis in the coun­try where med­i­cal costs are ris­ing sharply.

In­dia will see an es­ti­mated 1.45 mil­lion new cancer cases in 2016 alone, killing 7,36,000 of the pa­tients as barely 12.5% of those suf­fer­ing from the con­di­tion get di­ag­nosed early, says the na­tional cancer reg­istry data re­leased Wed­nes­day.

“The num­bers are go­ing up alarm­ingly and if we don’t want the sit­u­a­tion to turn epi­demic, we must act now,” said Dr GK Rath, chief of the Cancer Cen­tre at New Delhi’s All In­dia In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sciences (AIIMS).

There has been a jump of 350,000 first-time cancer cases since 2011, when the records were last up­dated. The cri­sis only seems to worsen.

By 2020, the cancer fig­ures are ex­pected to go up to 1.73 mil­lion cases in a year, prov­ing right the warn­ing that dreaded dis­ease will top the list of non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble ill­nesses plagu­ing In­dia in the com­ing years.

Mouth and lung are the most com­mon can­cers found in men. Women mostly suf­fer from breast and cervix can­cers. The high­est in­ci­dence among men has been re­ported from Mi­zo­ram’s

Aizwal district while Pa­pum­pare district of Arunachal Pradesh has the high­est rate of cancer among women.

Al­most 60% of the can­cers are pre­ventable, say ex­perts.

“Of this 60%, 40% are due to tobacco use and the re­main­ing 20% due to in­fec­tions,” said Dr PK Julka, for­mer head of ra­di­a­tion on­col­ogy depart­ment at

AIIMS. “The risk of de­vel­op­ing cancer can be re­duced by dis­con­tin­u­ing tobacco use, get­ting vac­ci­nated and main­tain­ing a healthy life­style.”

The rise in num­bers is also at­trib­uted to peo­ple liv­ing longer, greater aware­ness about the dis­ease and im­proved di­ag­nos­tic tech­niques.

In­dian Coun­cil of Med­i­cal Re­search di­rec­tor-gen­eral Dr Soumya Swami­nathan, who re­leased the data, said the in­for­ma­tion was up­dated ev­ery twothree years af­ter the lon­gi­tu­di­nal reg­istry be­gan in early 1980s. “Since then (it) has been help­ful in mak­ing pro­jec­tions that even­tu­ally help to strengthen our cancer screen­ing and treat­ment pro­gramme.”

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