With more than 1,300 persons succumbing to cancer every day, it has become one of the major causes of death occurring in the country due to communicable and life-style ailments, followed by tuberculosis. As per data of the National Cancer Registry Programme of the India Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the estimated mortality rate due to cancer saw an increase of six per cent approximately between 2012 and 2014.
“There has been close to 5 lakh deaths due to cancer in the country in 2014,” said a senior Health Ministry official.
Total of 4,91,598 people died in 2014 out of 28,20,179 cases, while in 2013 it was 4,78,180 deaths out of 29,34,314 cases reported and in 2012, around 4,65,169 people lost their lives due to the disease when the number of cases stood at 30,16,628. “Large number of ageing population, unhealthy lifestyles, use of tobacco and tobacco products, unhealthy diets, lack of diagnostic facilities, etc. Are some of the factors that can be attributed to the increase in the number of cancer deaths,” the official said.
The government has approved a scheme in 2013-14 for enhancing the specialised consultative care for cancer in the country and guidelines for strengthening of the facilities were circulated to the states in January 2014. Tuberculosis caused the second highest number of deaths in the country with 63,265 casualties in 2011, 61,887 in 2012 and 57,095 in 2013, as per records of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme.
The government, under the programme, provides free of cost diagnosis and treatment facilities including anti-TB drugs to patients. “We have established designated microscopy centres for quality diagnosis of every one lakh population in the general areas and for every 50,000 population in the tribal, hilly and difficult areas,” the official said. There are 13,000 microscopy centres in the country and more than six lakh directly observed treatment centres, the official added.