According to sources despite reporting more than 1.5 million new cases every year, India’s cancer rate remains lower than, say, the economically advanced US. That’s about 100 cases per 100,000 people compared with 300 in the US. Meanwhile this may be easier to explain: Indians are a vastly younger people and as people get older, the chances of getting cancer get higher.
But survival rates are poor barely a third of patients survive beyond five years or more after being diagnosed with the disease. Presently breast cancer is now the most common cancer among women in India, accounting for 27% of all cancers among women. Oncologists say there has been a sharp uptick in cases in the last six years. Further at 45-50 years, the peak age of onset of breast and ovarian cancer in India appears to be a decade younger than the peak age (above 60 years) in high-income countries. This could be due to genetic and environmental factors.
Furthermore Dr Ravi Mehrotra, director of the National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research and one of the authors of the study, believes that known risk factors for breast cancer high-fat diet, obesity, late marriage, fewer children, inadequate breast feeding may be leading to more cases in what is a rapidly urbanizing country. Moreover he says, many women may be diagnosed late because of lack of awareness and reluctance to go to doctors. Accordingly cervical cancer is still the second most common cancer among women in India, and accounts for a quarter of deaths among women suffering from cancer.