It’s not an unknown fact that the world is battling cancer and in India an estimated number of people living with the disease are around 2.5 million. In India, it has been found that cancers of oral cavity and lungs in males and cervix and breast cancer in females account for over 50% of all cancer deaths.
One of the major causes of cancer are gene mutations that occur after birth. Besides this, there are other lifestyle factors that may cause changes (mutations) to the DNA of our body cells leading to uncontrolled growth or rapid growth that can affect normal body functions. These include smoking, radiation, viruses, cancer-causing chemicals, obesity, hormonal changes, chronic inflammation, lack of exercise and more. Further to this, the government of India recently revealed that one out of eight men and one out of nine women have the possibility of developing cancer in their lifetime.
The Indian Council of Medical Research has released a three-year report of population-based cancer registries (2012-14) along with a consolidated report of hospital-based cancer registries in May 2016. The Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha revealed, “As per the National Cancer Registry programme of the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (ICMR), one out of eight men has the possibility of developing cancer in his lifetime (0-74 years). Similarly, one out of nine women has the possibility to develop cancer in her lifetime (0-74 years).”
She added that her ministry is running the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) and the cancer-related components of this programme include provision of treatment facilities, early detection and prevention activities across the country for all types of cancer.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India is likely to have more than 17.3 lakh new cases of cancer and over 8.8 lakh deaths due to the disease by 2020 with cancers of breast, lung and cervix topping the list. The premier medical research body had said that in 2016 the total number of new cancer cases is expected to be around 14.5 lakh.