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India’s cancer burden to rise to 29.8 million in 2025: ICMR report

According to a report by the ICMR on the ‘Burden of cancers in India’, seven cancers accounted for more than 40% of the total disease burden: lung (10.6%), breast (10.5%), oesophagus (5.8%), mouth (5.7%), stomach (5.2%), liver (4.6%) and cervix uteri (4.3%). istockPremium
According to a report by the ICMR on the ‘Burden of cancers in India’, seven cancers accounted for more than 40% of the total disease burden: lung (10.6%), breast (10.5%), oesophagus (5.8%), mouth (5.7%), stomach (5.2%), liver (4.6%) and cervix uteri (4.3%). istock

  • Mizoram, Delhi and Meghalaya had the highest cancer DALYs and the most vulnerable are people in the 65–69-year age group

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The number of Indians suffering from cancer is projected to increase to 29.8 million in 2025 from 26.7 million in 2021. The highest incidence last year was in the North (2,408 patients per 100,000) and the Northeast (2,177 per 100,000). It was higher among men.

According to a report by the Indian Council for Medical Research on the ‘Burden of cancers in India’, seven cancers accounted for more than 40% of the total disease burden: lung (10.6%), breast (10.5%), oesophagus (5.8%), mouth (5.7%), stomach (5.2%), liver (4.6%) and cervix uteri (4.3%).

Explaining the 2021-2025 projections, Dr Prasant Mathur, Director, National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR) said men will contribute to 14.7 million Years of Life Lost (YLLs), 0.72 million Years Lived with Disability (YLDs) and 15.5 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in 2025. The figure for women will be 13.6 million YLLs, 0.69 million YLDs and 14.3 DALYs.

The findings of the report have been published in BMC Cancer Journal.

Mizoram, Delhi and Meghalaya had the highest cancer DALYs and the most vulnerable demographic are people in the 65–69-year age group, said Dr Mathur.

“The information will be useful in understanding differences in the cancer burden across the country, resource allocation, prioritization of interventions, and monitoring indicators at national and state levels," said Dr Mathur.

Oncologists said increasing consumption of packaged food with harmful preservatives and junk food food could be contributory factors.

“The increasing burden of cancer is quite worrisome. Earlier tobacco and alcohol consumption were considered the major reasons for cancer. Obesity, radiation from mobile phone towers, vegetables grown in toxic water like rivers near industries, adulteration in food, artificial colouring of food and vegetables also increase the risk of cancers," Dr. Anshuman Kumar, Director Surgical Oncology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital.

“It is a valuable addition to all our efforts to spread cancer awareness. There is a need for better survivorship initiatives for cancers of people of low socioeconomic status (SES), so that we can help them to achieve better quality of life. For cancers of people in high SES, we try to add life to each and every day they live but poor people struggle with life in view of poor awareness and missing survivorship support. It’s our combined responsibility to give voice to voiceless cancer patients," said Dr Abhishek Shankar, Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, AIIMS, Patna.

“We are moving away from natural food to processed food which contains certain preservatives which increase the risk of cancers. In mountain areas like Leh and Ladakh, locals store food in some kind of preservatives which suggests that the numbers of oesophagus and stomach cancer are much more there," said Dr Rakesh Garg, Professor of Oncology at AIIMS, New Delhi.

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