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A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that breast, oral, and cervical cancers made up 32 percent of new cases in India

As of February 1, new estimates from the Global Cancer Observatory for 2022, reported that breast, oral, and cervical cancers collectively constituted 32 percent of new cases in India. Among the 14.13 lakh new cancer cases in the country, women slightly outnumbered men, with 7,22,138 affected compared to 6,91,178 men. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization's cancer agency, released these figures ahead of World Cancer Day on February 4.

The top five cancers in Indian women included breast, cervix, ovary, mouth, and colorectum, while men faced oral cavity, lung, esophagus, colorectal, and stomach cancers. Breast cancer led among women with 1,92,020 new cases (26.6 percent), followed by cervical cancer at 1,27,526 (17.7 percent). In men, oral cancer topped with 1,07,812 new cases (15.6 percent), followed by lung and esophageal cancers. Breast cancer claimed the most lives among women (13.7 percent), followed by oral and cervical cancers.

In 2022, the world witnessed an estimated 20 million new cancer cases and 9.7 million deaths. The projected number of individuals surviving five years after a cancer diagnosis reached 53.5 million. Approximately one in five individuals are affected by cancer during their lifetime, with global fatality rates standing at one in nine for men and one in twelve for women. The report anticipates a substantial surge in cancer cases, estimating over 35 million new instances in 2050 – marking a 77 percent increase from the 2022 estimate of 20 million cases.


Dr. C S Pramesh, Director of Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai and a board member of the Union International for Cancer Control, underscores the paramount importance of embracing a healthier lifestyle as the primary preventive measure. Avoiding tobacco and alcohol, engaging in regular physical activity, weight management, and preventing infections are key strategies.

Dr. Minnish Jain, Director of Medical Oncology at Ruby Hall Clinic in Pune, attributes the surge in breast cancer to increased smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, and reduced breastfeeding. To mitigate risks, he advocates abandoning ultra-processed foods, unhealthy fats, and high-sugar diets, highlighting the significance of lifestyle choices in cancer prevention.


Survey results from 115 countries, as published by WHO, reveal insufficient financing for priority cancer and palliative care services within universal health coverage (UHC). Dr. Anil D’Cruz, former president of the Union International for Cancer Control and Director of Oncology at Apollo Hospitals, emphasizes the limited access to care for patients.

Globally, the incidence-to-mortality ratio stands at one death for every three diagnosed cases, while in India, it's a stark two out of three individuals diagnosed who succumb. Dr. D’Cruz emphasizes the need for a comprehensive approach by the government, promoting access to healthcare through fortified primary facilities for cancer prevention and early detection. Late presentation contributes to a 50 to 60 percent success rate in curing pediatric cancers.

Dr. D’Cruz advocates for government-regulated pricing on WHO Essential Medicine List drugs, ensuring widespread availability of chemotherapy through global access initiatives. Additionally, he urges the free availability of morphine for terminally ill cancer patients. Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi highlights the financial strain on families due to rising treatment costs and urges price controls on drugs, equipment, and procedures.

Sources - The Indian Express Pvt Ltd



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