The Indian Council of Medical Research recently projected that India might register over 17 lakh new cases of cancer and over 8 lakh deaths because of the disease by 2020.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality among adults in India. In 2016, about 14 lakh cases of cancer were recorded, as mentioned in an article by carehospitals.org.
Among these recorded cases, it is more of women than men, who have been diagnosed with cancer, with the most common forms being breast, lung and cervical cancer.
As stated on the website cancerindia.org, ”One woman dies of cervical cancer every 8 minutes in India,” while, ”For every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it in India.”
The fact that more number of women have cancer than men in India reverses the global trend, which sees a 25 per cent higher cancer incidence of men than women.
According to a recently released World Cancer Report, 5.37 lakh Indian women were diagnosed with cancer in 2012, as compared to 4.77 lakh men. On the other hand, death caused by cancer is higher among men, as compared to women.
In yet another report titled Call for Action: Expanding cancer care for women in India, 2017, cancer among women was estimated at 0.7 million, thus accounting for third highest cancer cases among women, after China and the US, an article by Times of India mentioned.
As alarming as the statistics may look, a question that bothers one more is why there are more number of Indian women than men who are diagnosed with cancer.
Breast cancer, cervical, ovarian and uterine cancer account for 70 per cent of cancer cases among women in India, mentions Soutik Biswas, in an article in BBC.
Breast cancer alone accounts for 27 per cent of all cases among women, less than 10 per cent of which are inherited.
What is required now is to increase awareness about cancer. It is important to encourage people to undergo regular health check-ups, while motivating them to lead a healthy lifestyle. More and more women and men should be given access to adequate cancer treatment and services.