Doctors attribute the rise in mortality rate in cancer to large number of ageing population, unhealthy lifestyles, use of tobacco and tobacco products, unhealthy diets, lack of diagnostic facilities are some of the factors that can be attributed to the increase in the number of cancer deaths.

The latest data issued by the National Cancer Registry Program of the India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has clearly shown that cancer has become the biggest cause of death in India with 1,300 deaths daily, and close to 5 lakh every year. The data, which was released this month, shows an estimated 6% rise in mortality rate due to cancer from 2012 to 2014 (see box).

Doctors attribute the rise in mortality rate in cancer to large number of ageing population, unhealthy lifestyles, use of tobacco and tobacco products, unhealthy diets, lack of diagnostic facilities are some of the factors that can be attributed to the increase in the number of cancer deaths.

Dr D Akolkar, director, Research and Innovation, at Datar Genetics outlines the reason behind this study. “Too many people are being faced with the devastating diagnosis each year – brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer and five-year survival remains low at just 19.8%,” he said.

Brain tumors account for 85% to 90% of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumours. The worldwide incidence is close to 3,00,000 cases, out of which 10% are from India. Even as the number of cancer cases in India is accelerating with a million new cases being reported every year, experts warn that the incidence of the killer disease is expected to rise five-fold by 2025. However, this number is expected to rise to 700,000 by 2015, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Given the high prevalence rate, it is a huge concern that the country’s healthcare infrastructure is poorly prepared to deal with all facets of cancer treatment – prevention, early detection, treatment and palliative care.

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