Free Cancer Report

Know Your Cancer

Cancer in India

Cancer is one of the world's fastest-growing illnesses and the second-largest cause of death. Around one in six deaths worldwide is caused due to cancer, and according to reports, cancer accounted for more than 9.6 million deaths in 2018 itself. In the United States, 1662 people died due to cancer daily, while by comparison, according to the Indian Medical Research Council(ICMR), more than 1300 Indians die every day from cancer. Cancer treatment in India is making tremendous progress in diagnosis, treatment and palliative care, but is still a work in progress.
Yet interestingly, evidence shows that cancer is a man-made disease, and it developed largely because of inappropriate eating patterns, lifestyle and nutritional conditions. Reports from the WHO (World Health Organization) say that about one-third of cancer deaths are attributed to the five leading behavioural and dietary risks:

  • High body mass index
  • Low fruit and vegetable intake
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol use

According to 2018 WHO fact sheet, the top cancers affecting the Indian population are lung, breast, cervical, head and neck and colorectal cancer.
A combination of environmental, genetic and lifestyle factors is the primary explanation behind this deadly disease in India. However, in India, the use of tobacco and tobacco products is another leading cause of cancer. Vaping, smoking, second-hand smoke, air pollution, chewing tobacco are significant factors in India which are responsible for lung and head and neck cancer. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in Indian women and cervical cancer is the leading cause of death among women.

According to reports published on 4th February 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO), one in ten Indians will grow cancer during their lifetime and one in fifteen will die from the disease. There are an estimated 1.16 million new cases of cancer reported in India each year, and about 7,84,800 people die each year from it.
According to the study, the most prevalent of 5.70 lakh new cases of cancer in men, is oral cancer, followed by cancer of lung, stomach, colorectal, and oesophageal account for 45 per cent of reported cases. Out of the 5.87-lakh cancer cases reported in females, the highest numbers are breast cancer, followed by cervical, ovarian, oral and colorectal cancer, attributing for 60 per cent of all cancer cases.

The WHO also reported that breast cancer, oral cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer and colorectal cancer were among the six main types of cancer recorded in India.
Breast cancer has seen 1,62,500 cases, and 57,000 colorectal cancer cases are registered annually. The six cancer forms constitute 49 per cent of all new cancer cases.
The incidence of cancer in India is substantially varying across geography. In India, for example, the incidence of cancer is highest for both sexes in the North East region. Aizawl district (located in Mizoram) recorded the highest cases in males while Papumpare district had the highest number in females in Arunachal Pradesh. Higher incidence of gallbladder cancer in northern India and the North-East region compared to other sections, higher incidence of stomach cancer in Chennai and Bengaluru, oesophagus cancer in Kashmir and the North-East may indicate various aetiological factors, such as environmental, diet, lifestyle, and genetic factors. Close to 50 per cent of male cancers and 15 per cent in females are related to the use of tobacco. These include cancers of head and neck, lung, oesophagus, pancreas, and renal and urinary bladder.