Global cancer cases to rise 70% in next 20 years: WHO

05 Feb 2015


The number of new cancer cases world over is expected to rise by about 70 per cent over the next two decades, the World Health Organisation has cautioned.

Putting out data on the prevalence of the deadly disease, on World Cancer Day on Wednesday, the WHO said there are 14 million new cases of cancer and over eight million people die from cancer, with 60 per cent of these deaths in Africa, Asia, Central and South America.

In 2012, cancer was among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality globally and as per India's Cancer Incidence Report (2009-2011) from 1,057,204 cases in 2012, the numbers went up to 1,086,783 in 2013 and further to 1,117,269 in 2014.

According to Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare the estimated mortality on account of cancer every year in India is 5 lakh.

The WHO, which has launched a global drive to prevent premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by 25 per cent by 2025, has stressed on vaccination against human papilloma virus (HPV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV), reducing exposure to non-ionizing radiation by sunlight and ionizing radiation (occupational or medical diagnostic imaging) and early detection as steps towards prevention.

''Around one third of cancer deaths are due to the five leading behavioural and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use. Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing around 20 per cent of global cancer deaths and around 70 per cent of global lung cancer deaths,'' the WHO said in a statement.

It also said more than 30 per cent of cancer deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, which include tobacco use, obesity, unhealthy diet, urban air pollution and indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels.

Owing to the increasing cancer cases and the burden that it puts on the health budget in India, the ministry of health has rolled out cancer screening programmes, stressing on early diagnosis to save lives and increase life expectancy.

With tobacco identified as one of the leading causes of cancer in India, steps are being mooted to control the consumption and sale of tobacco products. The Ministry is also going all out to give preventive care a big boost.

A comprehensive National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS) was rolled out in 2010 covering 100 districts in 21 states with focus on three types of cancer - breast, cervical and oral cancer.

A scheme for enhancing the Tertiary Care Cancer facilities in the country has also been approved, under which the Centre will assist 20 State Cancer Institutes (SCI) and 50 Tertiary Care Cancer Centres (TCCC) in different parts of the country.

The Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik has also urged scientists and researchers to study remedies and practices offered by traditional methods for cancer care.

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