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Indian staring at cancer explosion: Experts

(image) Mumbai: India is staring at an explosion of cancer burden as the disease is likely to double or triple among its population in the next 20 years, oncologists said.

The incidence of cancer for the last decade has been a straight line as there has been a rising trend in some cancers offset by a reduction in others. However, epidemiological findings of some unique cancers in North-east suggested the explosion of cancer burden in the next two decades, the scientists said.

"It must be noted that in spite of the rising trend, the number of cancer cases are still about a third or fifth of what is seen in the developed world. However, India is at the beginning of an explosion of cancer burden due to several factors and drastic steps need to be taken to prevent the explosion," Tata Memorial Centre(TMC), Director, Dr R A Badwe said.

"In general, the outlook for cancer appears bright due to low incidence in India and efforts to reduce mortality without much increase in the incidence are unique globally," Badwe said at the 21st Indian Nuclear Society`s annual conference here.

But in future with factors like increasing population, increasing longevity, less of physical activity (obese cancer) and urbanisation of rural India, the burden of cancer is likely to double or triple by 2030, said Dr K M Mohandas, Director, Centre for Cancer Epidemiology of TMC.

TMC has also found some unique cancers in some parts of India – nasopharyngeal and esophageal (food pipe) cancer in Northeast and gall bladder cancer in Gangetic and Brahmaputra river belt, he said.

"Few large epidemiological studies are underway to find out etiology of these cancers and a large screening study with Barium swallow is also underway to see if early detection of esophageal cancer is possible," Badwe said.

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