Common cancer increase by 324 % and stroke increase by 46 % in India in 1 year

NEW DELHI: Cases of common cancer, including oral, cervical and breast cancer, diagnosed at state-run NCD clinics increased by nearly 324% between 2017 and 2018, according to National Health Profile, 2019 data.

In 2018, out of 6.5 crore people who visited these clinics for screening, 1.6 lakh were diagnosed with one of these common cancers, compared to 39,635 cases detected in 2017, the latest figures show.

Though the total number of people visiting NCD clinics also doubled between 2017 and 2018, from 3.5 crore to 6.6 crore, experts attribute the increasing incidence of the disease to rapidly changing lifestyles, including stress, food habits and consumption of tobacco products and alcohol.

Gujarat recorded the most number of cases of common cancer in 2018, followed by Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and West Bengal.

Most of these states also recorded a significant jump in cases as compared to the previous year. For instance, the number of people diagnosed with common cancer in Gujarat jumped from 3,939 in 2017 to 72,169 in 2018, recording 68,230 new cases, whereas the number of those visiting clinics increased by only 24%.

Even states like Andhra Pradesh and UP, where the numbers of diagnosed cases were comparatively less, reported a significant jump in 2018 as compared to the previous year.

“Consumption of tobacco products is a major factor contributing significantly to oral cancers, especially when it is coupled with alcohol, the risk and incidence is much higher. Besides, a sedentary lifestyle and rising rate of obesity are causing a rapid increase in all kind of cancers,” says Dr Harpreet Singh, senior consultant oncologist at Action Cancer Hospital.

Doctors also strongly recommend breastfeeding to counter the incidence of breast cancer.

Early diagnosis of cancer usually increases chances for successful treatment by focusing on detecting symptomatic patients as early as possible. The consequences of delayed or inaccessible cancer care are lower likelihood of survival and higher costs of care, resulting in avoidable deaths and disability from cancer. Early diagnosis improves cancer outcomes by providing care at the earliest possible stage and is, therefore, an important public health strategy.

The World Health Organisation recommends systematic mammography screening in women aged 50-69 years. It also says timely mammography has shown to reduce breast cancer mortality by approximately 20% in high-resource populations.

In case of cervical cancer, it says almost all deaths could be avoided if known effective interventions were available to all women and implemented, including immunising adolescent girls against human papilloma virus and cervical screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions.

For a few years, the health ministry has been focusing on the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke with the aim of preventing and controlling these diseases thorough awareness generation, behaviour and lifestyle changes, besides early diagnosis.

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