Updated on 18 January 2013
The two-decade long Cancer Registry programme, the forerunner of the exercise on stroke has been a great success in making available valuable data on cancer incidence and trends to help health care professional formulate their treatment plans.
According to a recent research paper writer by Dr Nandakumar along with Dr Ramnath Takiar and Dr Deenu Nadayil, based on the National Cancer Registry data collected since 1982, the number of cancer cases in India is projected to increase by 17 per cent, from 979,786 patients in 2010 to 1.15 million by 2020.
The data is derived from six of the 24 population-based cancer registries. The registries used for the study are from Bangalore, Barshi, Bhopal, Chennai and New Delhi and Mumbai. Date from the North East India cancer registry too has been used.
Some interesting trends have emerged from the cancer registry. The numbers of women cancer patients are 20 percent more than men. Tobacco-related cancer cases form the largest chunk in the country, about 20 percent of all cases. Cancers of the digestive is a close second in incidence, followed by head and neck cancers, blood-related cancers and gynaecological related cancers. Breast cancer is one of the fastest growing segment and the number of cases are predicted to cross the 100,000 mark in the year 2020.
What is alarming is the realization that more than 80 per cent of the cancers in India are in the advanced stages and palliative care and relief are essential to provide good quality life for these patients. The study has recommended preparation of an essential drug list and equips all public health centres with cancer chemotherapy and related services. Cancer has already become a major public health problem in India.