Cancer Prevalence in India

Cancer is the most feared disease – terminal if the cancer progresses beyond a certain stage. It is the fourth leading cause of deaths after heart diseases. In India 20-25 lakh cases exist at any time, with 7 lakh new added every year.

Signs of Danger

One needs to be educated about “Danger signals” of cancer – so that they may seek medical advice in time. Following are some of the things to watch out for:
  • A lump in the breast
  • A non healing ulcer
  • Sudden change in a wart or mole
  • Persistent indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Unusual bleeding from any natural orifice
  • Any change of usual bowel habit
  • Unexplained loss of weight
In general one is also advised to:
  • avoid alcohol, smoking, tobacco, pan masala, zarda etc.
  • maintain high standard of personal hygiene, specially industrial workers.
  • avoid coloring agents and fast food.
  • avoid air and water pollution.

Cervix Cancer

In India Cervix cancer is the leading type of cancer. Nearly one lakh new cases occur annually. Together with breast cancer, these two cancers constitute 60% of all cases. Mainly, it is tied to promiscuous sex, excessive sex with multiple sex partners, and prolong use of estrogen containing pills. It is more common in women of low-income groups due to lack of genital hygiene. Specific protection from Human Papilloma Virus vaccine (HPV) is possible. HPV is given to teens before their sexual debut because the vaccine is more effective in people who have not yet acquired any HPV type virus. All women should have cervical pap smear test at the beginning of sexual-maturity and then after every 3 years.

Breast Cancer

This is no. 1 killer of women in India. This is commonly found in higher socio-economic groups, in cases of with family history, early puberty, late menopause. Other habits like high intake dietary fat and obesity are also a factor; so are prolonged use of oral contraceptive pills before first pregnancy or before 25 years age. Self examination of breast should be done every day and mammography also needed for screening for early-stage breast cancer.

Oral Cancer

This is the third major problem in our country, death-rate is 6.7/lakh. It is caused by chewing tobacco and related products. It mostly affects the tongue and the throat. If the tobacco habits are eliminated from community, the incidence can be reduced drastically.

Other Cancers

  • Lung Cancer accounts for 6.9% of all cancers and 9.3% death due to cancers. Quit smoking to save your lungs.
  • Liver Cancer can be prevented by immunization against Hepatitis B.
  • Colon Cancer can be caused by chronic constipation. A balanced-diet rich in fiber & roughage keeps the colon healthy.