Cancer is one of the most deadly diseases in the world. It is spreading day by day all over the world and the reason is today’s lifestyle. Our lifestyle is liable for this disease. There are over a hundred types of cancers which can affect any of our body parts and anyone can fall victim to this deadly disease. A study shows that those who born before 1960 have a low risk of cancer and those who born since 1960 are greater than 50% now.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) data, in 2018, India has around 2.25 million cases with over 1 lakh new cases being registered every year. The disease led to nearly 7 lakh deaths. The ICMR estimates that the country is likely to register over 17 lakh new cases and report 8 lakhs deaths by 2020. Cancer is the second biggest killer in India after heart disease.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease that results when cellular changes cause the uncontrolled growth and division of cells. Cancer causes cells to divide uncontrollably. This can result in tumors, damage to the immune system, and other impairment that can be fatal. This abnormal growth is harmful because it doesn’t just replace healthy cells in organs but also causes changes in our body’s biochemistry that can lead to weight loss and a weak immune system. Cancer is not contagious. However, some cancers are caused by viruses and bacteria.
Causes of Cancer
There are many causes of cancer but the main reason is our lifestyle but in many cases also we witnessed that those who are living a very healthy lifestyle, still get cancer. Here are some main causes of cancer in India.
- Consumption of Alcohol, Tobacco, Smoking Cigarette, and Chewing Gutkha (33%)
- Unsafe Sex (16%)
- Excess Body Weight (20%)
- Physical Inactivity (5%)
- Poor Nutrition (5%)
Number of new cancer cases in 2018, both sexes of all age groups
- Breast Cancer : 14.00%
- Oral Cancer : 10.40%
- Cervical Cancer : 8.40%
- Lung Cancer : 5.9%
- Stomach Cancer : 5%
- Other Cancers : 56.40%
Breast Cancer: Breast cancer is currently the most common cancer among Indian women that share 14% which is a very huge number. It is an alarming rise over the past few years. In breast cancer, cancer cells are found inside the milk ducts (the canals that allow milk to move from the milk gland to the nipple) in the breast but have not spread to the surrounding breast tissues or organs. According to ICMR, more than 1 lakh new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year. As per the report of WHO, only 5% of women undergo breast screening in India due to a lack of awareness. It is advisable that women must lookout for a change in size, rash on or around the nipple, a painless lump, blood-stained discharge from the nipple, swelling under the armpit or a retraction of the nipple. It is also advisable that women above 40+ must have a mammogram once in two years. The incidence rates in India begin to rise in the early thirties and peak at ages 50-64 years. Overall, 1 in 28 women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
Oral Cancer: Oral cancer is defined as uncontrollable growth of cells seen in the oral cavity. It appears as a growth or sore in the mouth. It includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx. Oral cancer is the most common cancer in India. Around 80-90% of oral cancers are directly attributable to tobacco use. In India, 20 per 1 Lakh population are affected by oral cancer and over 5 people in India die every hour every day. The main cause of oral cancer is excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco chewing, and smoking. Men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer when compared to women. Most of the oral cancer cases occur between the age of 50 to 70 years. The lifetime risk for mortality from cancer in India for both males and females is 61%.
Cervical Cancer: Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in India in women. When cancer develops in the cervix of female, it is termed as cervical cancer or cancer cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus and connects the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). The lower part of the cervix (ectocervix) lies within the vagina and the upper two-thirds of the cervix (endocervix) lies above the vagina. Most cervical cancers originate in the area where the endocervix and ectocervix join. Nearly all cases of cervical cancer can be attributable to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection. HPV is a group of viruses and one of the causative agents in the Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in men and women with and without clinical lesions. Other epidemiological risk factors for cervical cancer are early age at marriage, multiple sexual partners, multiple pregnancies, poor genital hygiene, malnutrition, use of oral contraceptives, and lack of awareness. In India, 22 per 1 Lakh population are affected by Cervical Cancer which is highest in South Asia. Cervical cancer can be prevented by vaccinating all young females against the HPVs and by screening and treating precancerous lesions in women. In addition, if cervical cancer is detected early and treated in earlier stages, it can be cured. One woman dies of cervical cancer every 8 minutes in India.
Lung Cancer: Lung cancer originates from the tissues of the lung, usually from cells lining the air passages. It is the most common cancer in men and women. As per the World Health Organization (WHO) study, 14% of outdoor air pollution-related deaths were due to lung cancer. Tobacco use is also one of the leading risk factors. There are two types of lung cancer — small cell (SCLC) and non-small cell (NSCLC). Small cell cancer is usually found in non-smokers and it metastasizes faster than the non-small cell. Small cell tumors considered to be inoperable and pose a great risk to lives. Non-small cell can affect both smokers and non-smokers alike.
Cancer is a deadly disease. World Cancer Day is celebrated on February 4 every year to raise awareness about cancer. Around 9 million People die from cancer every year and 70% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries. If it is diagnosed at in early age then treatment is possible. In India, due to unawareness and lack of information is the main reason of increase of this disease. The risk of dying from cancer before the age of 75 years is 7.34% in males and 6.28% in females. Cancer burden in India has more than doubled over the last 26 years and estimated number of people living with the cancer is around 3 million. Around the world, communities hold festivals, walks, seminars, public information campaigns, and other events to raise awareness and educate people on how to fight cancer through screening and early detection.
Cancer Fact in India:
- India ranks third in cancer cases after China and the US.
- Every year India reports more than a million new cancer cases.
- Among them, half-million deaths happen due to the ignorance of the disease.
- One woman dies of cervical cancer every eight minutes in India.
- For every two women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it in the country, accordingly to the National Institute of Cancer Prevention Research (NICPR).
- Cancer is the second most common cause of death in India (after cardiovascular disease).
- Use of tobacco products (cigarettes) is the single most preventable cause of death worldwide
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in India and accounts for about a quarter of all cancers in women in Indian cities.
- The average age for breast cancer in India is almost a decade lower than that in the west.