5 Cancers That Are Rising in India

COVID-19 pandemic has a devastating effect on people and services across all age groups and borders. In resource-limited countries like India, COVID has overburdened our healthcare system. While battling with the pandemic, there's another silent pandemic might emerge in the coming days because COVID has adversely impacted the non-COVID treatments and especially critical cancer patients have suffered the most due to delay in their treatment as patients were not visiting hospitals during the pandemic and there has been a significant rise in cancer cases in last few years. Due to COVID, patients have ignored their symptoms, therefore there has been a delay in diagnosis as well and as we all know, cancer can only be treated well if it’s diagnosed in an early stage. In India alone, cancer cases have risen more than 12%. Statistics from the World Cancer Report 2020 indicate that the burden of cancer will be doubled in the next decade in low- and middle-income countries; nearly one in every 10 Indians is likely to develop cancer at some point in their lifetimes and one in 15 Indians will succumb to the disease.

Cancers That Are Rising in India

It has been observed that tobacco has always been a crucial contributor behind different forms of cancers especially lung cancer, neck cancer or mouth cancer. The major contributing factor being tobacco and ghutka consumption that directly accounts for 27 per cent of cancers in India. Alcohol has been another risk factors behind different forms of cancers, especially liver cancer, uterus cancer etc. Since last few years, in India, some types of cancers are rising include Face/mouth cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, uterus cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer. Apart from smoking and drinking alcohol, the fast-changing lifestyle,dependency on fast food, irregular cycle of sleep, excessive stress – these all play respective roles behind the occurrence of cancer.With the advancement of medical science, now the life expectancy has been increased. When we talk about the higher incidence of cancers, old age comes as a major risk factor for cancer and when life expectancy is higher, chances of cancer occurrence become higher as well. This is because, with age, people become immunocompromised and then the strength becomes much less in them to fight with cancer. However, as mentioned earlier, due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, younger population is now also becoming vulnerable to cancer, not only outside India but in India as well. Cancer has no single reason behind it, but along with these risk factors, family history is also responsible for the development of cancer.

Some specific types of cancer do not show any early symptoms as well, especially when we talk about lung cancer and in those cancers, mortality rates are high. In order to battle with the increasing cancer occurrences in India, we must emphasize on regular screening, as prevention is always better than cure. However, with the newer treatment techniques and high-end technologies, we are now able to treat cancers in a much better way and therefore, the chances of deaths are slowly reducing if cancer is diagnosed at a considerable stage. But it is crucial for us, especially the younger population to adopt a healthy lifestyle, quit smoking (gutkha or cigarettes), lowering the consumption of alcohol, manage stress with yoga and other stress-relieving physical activities.

Cancer Day (4th Feb)
On World Cancer Day (4th Feb), all the doctors and healthcare practitioners are trying their best to convey awareness message around cancer to the entire general population of the country. It’s high time that people should learn and make others aware too about how we can manage ourselves well so that we don’t fall prey to non-communicable and life-threatening diseases like cancer.