7 lakh women diagnosed with cancer each year in India

Cancer is less amenable to preventive measures in women compared to men

BENGALURU / May 23, 2024: India sees 7 lakh new women patients of cancer each year, with more than one fourth of all cases involving breast cancer (28.8%), followed by cancer of cervix (10.6%), ovary (6.2%), uterus (3.7%) and lung (3.7%). Cancer ranks among top three causes of premature death among women worldwide, but the disease is less amenable to preventive measures in them compared to men. This was said by cancer specialists of Sammprada Hospital, Bengaluru ahead of the International Day of Action for Women’s Health.

Said Dr. Radheshyam Naik, Consultant Medical Oncologist and Hematologist & Bone Marrow Transplant Physician, Sammprada Hospital, Bengaluru: “India contributes about around 1.23 lakh cervical cancer and 1.44 lakh breast cancer cases every year. It accounts for nearly one-third of all global cervical cancer deaths. In recent years, breast cancer has surpassed cervical cancer in-terms of incidence and cause of death in the country.”

He added: “The state at which cancer is diagnosed is a crucial indicator of how effective early diagnosis and screening interventions would be. Unfortunately, majority of cases of breast cancer (57%), ovary (40.6%), and Cervix (60%) are diagnosed at a stage where the cancer has already spread to nearby lymph nodes, tissues, or organs.”

Talking about the importance of preventive measures against cancer for women, Dr. Vinod K Ramani, Preventive Oncologist, Sammprada Hospital, Bengaluru: “We recommend all women get themselves screened annually for six types of cancers, including that of breast, cervix, oral cavity, stomach, lung, and colorectal regions. It is important for women in the age group 9 to 15 years to undergo HPV vaccination and adult women to get themselves vaccinated against Hepatitis B virus. In addition, women should be screened for cancer biomarkers which enable early diagnosis, as well as for infections such as Helicobacter pylori, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Women are also advised against using skin-lightening creams containing hydroquinone and cosmetic products containing parabens, as these can also lead to cancer.”

In India, 60% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at stage III or IV of the disease. The survival rate of patients with breast cancer is poor in India compared to Western countries. India alone accounts for one-quarter of the worldwide burden of cervical cancers. It is estimated that cervical cancer will occur in approximately 1 in 53 Indian women during their lifetime, compared with 1 in 100 women in more developed regions of the world. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women aged 15-44 years in India, with more than 3/4th cases diagnosed at advanced clinical stage with poor prospects of survival.

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