On World Cancer Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) put out figures to warn that the number of new cancer cases would rise by 70 percent in the next 20 years from the current figure of 14 million cases reported and eight million deaths caused by the dreaded disease.
Noting the 60 percent of deaths are reported from Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the WHO said the developing nations need to focus on cancer prevention measures to tide over the calamity in the next two decades.
Coming to India, the Union Health ministry said in its annual reports the cancer deaths in 2012 were at 10,57,204 cases but went up to 10,867,83 in 2013 and to 11,17269 in 2014. On average, 5 lakh people die in the country due to cancer or related mortality.
According to WHO, one-third of cancer deaths are due to high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol consumption and tobacco tops the risk factors causing cancer. About 70 percent of cancer deaths world over were from lung cancer, directly related to tobacco use, said WHO.
As of the latest figures available for 2012, lung cancer deaths in the world were 1.59 million, liver cancer deaths at 745,000, stomach cancer at 723,000, colorectal cancer at 694,000, breast cancer at 521,000 and oesophageal cancer at 400,000.
WHO has also suggested that more than 30 percent of cancer deaths can be prevented by avoiding tobacco use and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, taking healthcare precautions and early-stage screening for cancer.
On the eve of World Cancer Day, India’s Minister of State for AYUSH, Mr Shripad Yesso Naik has also chipped in to seek the scientists to indulge in systematic evaluation of AYUSH remedies and practices in cancer care.
Speaking at the symposium organized to mark the World Cancer Day with the theme “AYUSH for Cancer Care” in New Delhi on Wednesday, Naik said, “We must emphasize highlighting the solutions that do exist or can be developed from AYUSH systems to help controlling the menace of cancer and which are within our reach and resources”.
Stressing on AYUSH systems which emphasize on the preventive aspect, he said the integration of AYUSH with conventional healthcare system is another important area to be explored to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and to prevent the recurrence and metastasis and improve the quality of life of cancer patients.
The ministry has also rolled out a National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS) in 2010 covering 100 districts in 21 States focusing on breast, cervical and oral cancers.
In addition, the Tertiary Care Cancer facilities have been mooted in the country in 20 State Cancer Institutes (SCI) and 50 Tertiary Care Cancer Centres (TCCC).