Increasing cancer problem in India - Daily Current Affair Article for UPSC, IAS, Civil Services and State PCS Examinations


  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) -National Center for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR) and the National Cancer Registry Program have estimated in the August 2020 report that the number of cancer cases in India will increase to 1.3 million in 2020.

Introduction :-

  • India has seen a steady increase in cancer cases over several decades. A 2017 report showed that between 1990 and 2016, the burden of cancer in India increased by 2.6 times and cancer-related deaths doubled over time.
  • About two-thirds of these cancer cases are in their late stages. In men, lung cancer, oral cavity, stomach cancer are common while in women, breast, cervical, ovary, and gall bladder cancers are common.

About cancer

  • Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cell growth occurs with the ability to invade or spread to parts of the body.
  • Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight gain. Although these symptoms indicate cancer, they can also be caused by other causes. More than 100 types of cancer affect humans.
  • Tobacco use is the cause of approximately 22% to 25% deaths due to cancer.
  • 10% of cancer deaths are due to obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity, or excessive intake of alcohol. Other factors include some infections such as ionizing radiation and exposure to environmental pollutants.
  • In developing countries, 15% of cancers are caused by infections such as Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human papillomavirus infection, Epstein- Barr virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Usually, many genetic changes occur before cancer develops. is needed.
  • About 5-10% of cancers are due to hereditary genetic defects from a person's parents. After the initial signs of cancer are detected, it is usually examined by medical imaging and confirmed by biopsy.

Cancer status in India

  • A report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, and Environment stated that Indian cancer patients have a 20% higher cancer mortality than countries with a "high-level" human development index.
  • The panel has also said that India's cancer care infrastructure is "grossly inadequate" and forces most patients to travel "thousands of kilometers" for treatment.
  • The World Cancer Report published by the World Health Organization stated that according to the estimated cancer status in India in 2018, the country has a population of 1.35 billion with about 1.16 million new cases, 2. 26 million old cases (minimum 5 years old), and About 70000 deaths

Effects of cancer

  • Cancer causes loss of life and also has a very social impact.
  • A person suffering from cancer goes through a very serious state of mind before death and his entire family faces crises.
  • The expenditure incurred in its diagnosis affects their savings.
  • Reducing cancer is, therefore, necessary to address social and economic inequality, stimulate economic growth, and accelerate sustainable development.

Proper diagnosis of cancer: -

Investing in cancer treatment alone is not an economically viable option. We need to pay attention to three major aspects:

  • Risk reduction,
  • Early detection and programmatic
  • Policy solution.

Risk reduction

  • It is estimated that approximately 50% -60% of cancer cases can be diagnosed with known risk factors effectively.
  • Community empowerment through a multicultural approach that brings government, private practitioners, and civil society together to increase health literacy and promote certain behaviors, this can reduce potential risks.
  • Development of some cancers by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, not drinking too much alcohol, eating lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, vaccination against some infectious diseases, not eating too much processed and red meat, and avoiding smoking The risk of can be reduced.

Early recognition

  • Initially, patients hide it due to cancer becoming a social stigma. The stigma associated with the disease can also be prevented by better awareness.
  • Early detection through vaccination and preliminary screening is very important.

Policy solution

  • A health approach is also relevant for large-scale impacts. Programmatic and policy- level solutions need to be driven by data. The information collected through the National Cancer Registry Program has been used effectively over the years to advocate for better access to screening, early detection, referral, treatment, and palliative care services.
  • Government programs like Ayushman Bharat, Swachh Bharat, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Potion Abhiyan, and Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Dhan Yojana and initiatives like FSSAI's new labeling and display regulations and drug price control can encourage inter-regional and multi-sectoral action.
  • Other initiatives such as National Health Policy, National Tobacco Control Program, and National Program for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke are also paving the way for progress.
  • There is a need to improve cancer research in the country which is important to guide our efforts on cancer prevention and control. It is necessary to take targeted measures for cancer in health policy and other schemes.

The conclusion

  • India is committed to reducing cancer deaths by one-third by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals and has made considerable progress. There have been improvements in some areas in India, such as personal hygiene, which will be helpful in the removal of cancer.
    Our approach should not only focus on diagnosis, treatment modalities, and vaccines but also emphasize inclusiveness in thinking and action for common solutions that can significantly reduce the impact of cancer on all socioeconomic levels in the country.

General Studies Paper 3

  • Science and Technology

Mains Question:-

  • Cancer affects not only human life but also social and economic status. Discuss the steps that can be taken for the proper diagnosis of cancer?