Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths in India, which has nearly three million patients suffering from the disease. Annually, nearly 500,000 people die of cancer in India. According to WHO, this number is expected to rise to 700,000 in this year.
According to WHO, lung, oral, lip, throat and neck cancers are the most common among men while women suffer more from cervix, breast and ovarian cancers.
Mentioning an ICMR report on "Time Trends in Cancer Incidence Rate: 1982-2010", the Age Adjusted Incidence rates (AAR) shows that the breast cancer is increasing in both urban and rural registries whereas cervical cancer is decreasing or remains static in both urban and rural registries.
Indian Health Ministry given written statement that a total of 5,47,850 cancer cases were reported among women in 2012 followed by 5,64,619 in 2013, 5,81,945 in 2014 and 5,99,847 in 2015. The cases of breast cancer among women was reported to be 91,240 in 2012, 94,208 in 2013, 97,328 in 2014 and 1,00,611 in 2015 while cases of cervical cancer over the same period was 91,694, 92,731, 93,786 and 94,857.
In women, the cancer cases are detected more at a younger age. One of the reasons of increase in breast cancer rates is due to changes in their lifestyles : women have fewer babies presently, and breastfeed less.
Apart from this, earlier lung cancer among women was not even on the list of top ten cancers. But now, it is the seventh most common kind of cancer. For instance in Karnataka about 2,700 lung cancer cases every year. Of these, 1,200 are new cases which was earlier only about 400 to 500 cases.
With a large number of women, mostly from the IT industry, taking to smoking, the numbers are high; among the common risk factors are active and passive smoking, use of asbestos in industries and air pollution. (Asbestos cancers are caused by inhalation or ingestion of large amounts of toxic asbestos fibers.
Some reason of increase number of cancer cases in the country as well as in women may be attributed to larger number of ageing population, unhealthy life style, use of tobacco and tobacco products, unhealthy diet, better diagnostic facilities etc.
According to a reseach, when women try to reduce weight they take to smoking as it suppresses their appetite, and this is common, especially among the younger ones. They take to smoking as an easy way to lose weight. Actually latter they realize they will end up losing organs.
Most cases of lung cancer reach in the late stages. According to the International Association for Study of Lung Cancer, lung cancer accounts for about 27% of all cancer deaths. Worldwide, each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
An additional worried fact is, according to health ministry, presently India have more than 300 cancer centres, out of these 40% are not sufficiently equipped with advanced cancer care equipment. And India will need at least 600 additional cancer care centres by 2020 to meet the requirements.
Official data show there are only about 1,000 trained oncologists in the country and the ratio of doctor-to-patient is about 1:2,000. Comparison, with the US a ratio of about 1:100. While the situation is similar in other developed countries, in other South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries, too, is as inadequate as in India.