Rise in cancer incidences among younger people in India: Study

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Twenty per cent of cancer patients who called an NGO-run helpline to seek a second opinion were below 40 years of age, indicating a rise of cancer incidences amongst younger
people, data from the organisation stated.

There were 1,368 callers between March 1 and May 15, according to the Cancer Mukt Bharat Foundation, launched by a group of oncologists. The study showed that 60 per cent of the cancer patients below the age of 40 years were men. It also found that the most prevalent cases were head and neck cancer (26 per cent), closely followed by Gastrointestinal cancers (16 per cent), breast cancer (15 per cent) and then blood cancers (9 per cent).

The most number of calls were from Hyderabad, followed by Meerut, Mumbai and New Delhi, a statement by the NGO said. Dr Ashish Gupta, Principal Investigator and senior oncologist who is heading the Cancer Mukt Bharat Campaign said that since the launch of the helpline number, it has proven to be a support system for cancer patients across India and almost hundreds of calls are received every day.

“This study helps us make a more targeted cancer approach towards treatment and make India ‘Cancer Mukt’. We found head and neck cancer was most prevalent which is nearly entirely preventable by lifestyle modification, vaccinations and screening strategies. Breast and colon cancers have very effective screening strategies for finding cancer in the early stages. Unfortunately as is representative of the population at large in India we found nearly 2/3rds of cancers were detected late likely due to low adoption of proper screening,” Dr Gupta said.