In 2019, India emerged as Asia's second-largest contributor to the cancer burden, per a recent Lancet report.
According to a new Lancet report, India registered almost 12 lakh new cases of cancer and 9.3 lakh deaths in 2019, making it the second-highest contributor to the cancer burden in Asia.
The study, carried out by an international team of researchers, including specialists from the National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Jodhpur, and Bathinda.
The study was published in The Lancet Regional Health Southeast Asia journal. It compared cancer data across 49 Asian countries from 1990 to 2019.
According to the study, India contributed significantly to the rising cancer threat in Asia, where 94 lakh new cases and 56 lakh fatalities were recorded in 2019. This is in addition to China and Japan. With 48 lakh new cases and 27 lakh fatalities, China made the largest contribution, followed by Japan with roughly 9 lakh new cases and 4.4 lakh deaths.
Key findings included the identification of lung, trachea, and bronchus cancer (TBL) as the most common cancer in Asia, accounting for an estimated 12 lakh fatalities and 13 lakh cases.
Women were more likely to get cervical cancer, which emphasises how crucial the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is in avoiding cervical cancer.
The study also found that the three main risk factors for cancer in Asia are alcohol use, smoking, and ambient particulate matter pollution.
They argued that there is cause for concern regarding the rising cancer burden in Asia as a result of increased ambient air pollution, particularly in nations like Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Qatar that have high ambient particulate matter levels. Additionally, the study discovered that the prevalence of smokeless tobacco (SMT) in South Asian nations like India—such as khaini, gutka, betel quid, and paan masala—contributes considerably to oral malignancies.
In 2019, India accounted for 28.1% of new cases and 32.9% of fatalities worldwide from lip and oral cavity cancer.
The study concluded that factors such as increased motor vehicle usage, urbanisation, migration, and industrial growth are all contributing to the rise in cancer rates and should be addressed. Improved water and sanitation, according to the researchers, can help stop Helicobacter pylori from spreading, which may cut the incidence of stomach cancer.
The study also observed a similar pattern of rising cancer burden linked to higher life expectancy and falling cancer burden in younger age groups as nations progress.
It is important to carry out timely cancer screenings and treatments with an emphasis on cost-effectiveness and payment for medical costs, particularly in low- and middle-income nations where oncologic infrastructure is either lacking or prohibitively expensive.