“Fortis Healthcare shares key facts on cancer trends critical for India”
New Delhi, February 2, 2018:
This World Cancer Day is yet again an opportunity to advocate on this serious non-communicable disease and call for urgent action from stakeholders to save millions of preventable deaths each year by increasing awareness and public education around cancer. Fortis Healthcare is also striving to make the Indian public aware of latest trends, statistics and developments around cancer prevalence. Primarily, an unhealthy lifestyle involving excessive smoking and drinking, lack of physical exercise, obesity, and a poor diet are the main reasons for the rising number of cancer cases in India. According to the WHO, cancer cases are expected to rise by about 70% over the next two decades globally. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, India is likely to have 17.3 lakh new cancer cases and 8.8 lakh deaths due to cancer by 2020.
In India, majority of the cancers are presented once they have advanced to stage three or stage four. Only 12.5% percent of patients come for treatment in the early stages due to gaps and challenges faced in periodic screenings and early detection. In addition, many hospitals are not properly equipped to provide adequate treatment for cancer. Ensuring palliative care and therapy is also essential as these ultimately lead to the most favorable outcomes.
Ø Dr Surender Dabas, Director, Department of Surgical Oncology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh shares some key trends around head and neck cancer:
- Head, neck and lung cancers are widespread in India due to tobacco consumption. They constitute 25% – 30% of all the major cancers in the developing world, incuding India. Breast, pancreas, prostate, and lung are the major cancers in the developed world.
- Oral sub mucous fibrosis is a pre-malignant condition that affects the oral cavity. It is a disorder limited to the Indian subcontinent. 84.4% of patients who developed OSMF are often less than 35 years of age.
- Tobacco is a key cause of cancer. It is consumed in multiple forms, both smoked and smokeless. It is also available in paste form to be applied topically on the gums or inhaled. 60% of the population consumes smokeless tobacco, 25% use smoked tobacco and 15% consume both the forms.
- Pan, gutka or pan masala combined with loose tobacco have a high content of areca nut and are the main cause of the steep rise in oral cancer in India.
- 15 – 20% patients in India present themselves with such advanced symptoms that they can only be provided with palliative care.
- Tobacco cessation and early detection aim toward curbing the rising burden. Customized approaches can also help to improve tolerability and affordability of treatment.
Ø Dr Vikas Maurya, Sr. Consultant & Head, Department of Pulmonology & Sleep Disorders, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh shares with us a few facts on lung cancer:
- In India, Lung cancer is ranked second among males and sixth among females.
- Smoking tobacco remains the single most important risk factor (80–90%) when it comes to developing lung cancer.
- The overall estimated lung cancer mortality in India in 2012 was 63,759, making it the third most common cause of cancer-related mortality in India after breast and cervical cancer.
- Statistics reveal that 15% of patients diagnosed with lung cancer have no history of tobacco use. This could be because of exposure to second hand smoke, asbestos exposure, air pollution (outdoor and indoor), exposure to radon gas, diesel exhaust fumes or a genetic predisposition.
- 80% of lung cancer patients in India are diagnosed at an advanced stage and cannot avail surgical intervention.
- 40% of patients of lung cancer are less than 50 years of age and 11% are less than 40 years of age. Among the younger patients, lung cancer is commonly misdiagnosed as tuberculosis.
The most common cancers are lung, liver, colorectal, stomach and breast. Hepatitis and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are responsible for up to 25% of cancer cases in low and middle income countries. Late-stage presentation and inaccessible diagnosis and treatment are common. Between 30–50% of cancers can currently be prevented. This can be accomplished by avoiding risk factors and implementing existing evidence-based prevention strategies.