Hyderabad: Epidemiological transition — where people are living longer — is one of the reasons why more cancer cases are being seen as the higher percentage of older population provides for greater incidence of cancer, according to a study published in Journal of Oncology.
Epidemiological transition is being seen in India due to the increased life expectancy, food security, reduced rate of infection and better diagnosis and management of diseases. The overall incidence of cancer in India is 89 per 1,00,000 population which is lower than that of the West.
The study found that the fastest epidemiological transition happened in Kerala whereas the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh has the lowest transition rate.
Cancers caused by infections such as cervical, stomach and penile cancers have seen a decline while there is an increase in lifestyle and aging cancers such as breast, colorectal, lung and prostrate cancers.
Dr Vamshi Krishna, medical oncologist at Apollo Cancer Hospital, explained, "Lifestyle, rising age expectancy, changing diet and habits of smoking and use of tobacco products are leading to cancers of the breast, lung, colorectal and prostrate cancer in the population. The management of non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes is effectively being done and that becomes a contributory factor."
Genetic or hereditary cancers are a major proportion of cancers and in certain families, the increasing risk of developing cancers in families is very high. The most common hereditary cancers noted in the population are breast and ovarian cancer. The diagnosis of cancers is still a challenge as patients do not come on time and preventive methods of testing have not picked up due to high cost, fear and lack of awareness.
Dr Arun Kumar Lingutla, consultant medical oncologist at Care Hospitals, said, “The age-adjusted incidence rates for women is more than that of males in all major urban cancer registries in India. The incidence of women getting cancers ranges from 100 to 115 per 1,00,000 population in women whereas it is 100 per 1,00,000 population in males. Diagnosis of women in India is late.”