Study reveals leading causes of cancer deaths in India

Cancer is a major cause of death in India; recent estimates attribute about 6% of all deaths nationwide to cancer. Importantly, an increasing life expectancy and growing population are expected to continue the trend of increasing cancer rates.

A recent study found that in 2010, approximately 556,400 deaths in India could be directly attributed to cancer. The top 3 cancer sites in men were oral cavity, stomach, and lung, and the top 3 cancer sites in women were the cervix, stomach, and breast, according to a nationally representative survey.

Researchers at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, India, and collaborators of the[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]…

[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()] Million Death Study conducted a survey with 130 trained physicians in 6,671 small areas of India that covered 1.1 million homes. The areas surveyed were randomly selected and were expected to be nationally representative.

Key Point: Cancer is a major cause of death in India. This recent study documents the rates of various types of cancer deaths. Patients should be educated about the common causes of cancer deaths and lifestyle modifications that may help prevent cancer.

In the survey, 71% (395,400) of the cancer deaths occurred in individuals between the ages of 30 years and 69 years, with similar rates between men and women. In men, the top 3 cancer deaths were due to oral cancer at 22.9%, stomach cancer at 12.6%, and lung cancer at 11.4%. In women, the top 3 cancer deaths were due to cervical cancer at 17.1%, stomach cancer at 14.1%, and breast cancer at 10.2%. Cervical cancer was more common in Hindu women with an age-standardized mortality ratio of 0.68, as compared with Muslim women with an age-standardized mortality ratio of 1.06.

Tobacco-related cancers topped the list, as 42% and 18.3% of cancers in men and women, respectively, were attributed to tobacco use. Tobacco-related cancer deaths were twice as likely to be a result of oral cancer, as compared with lung cancer.

Cancer death rates were similar between rural and urban areas. However, cancer death rates varied widely between the states; states with a greater education status experienced fewer cancer deaths than states with a lower education status.

Source: Dikshit R, Gupta PC, Ramasundarahettige C, et al, for the Million Death Study Collaborators. Cancer mortality in India: a nationally representative survey. Lancet. 2012;379:1807-1816.

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This entry was posted in Non-Communicable Disease, Oncology, Primary Care, Women's Health and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Volume: .

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