• Tuesday, March 05, 2024


India saw 930,000 cancer deaths in 2019, second highest in Asia: study

Researchers found that India, along with China and Japan, were the three leading countries in Asia in terms of number of new cases and deaths.

A woman holds a placard during a breast cancer awareness walk in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on October 9, 2021. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA registered about 12 lakh (1.2 million) new cancer cases and 930,000 deaths in 2019, becoming the second highest contributor to the disease burden in Asia for that year, according to a new study published in The Lancet Regional Health Southeast Asia journal.

Researchers found that India, along with China and Japan, were the three leading countries in Asia in terms of number of new cases and deaths, where they say cancer has become a more significant public health threat with 94 lakh (9.4 million) new cases and 56 lakh (5.6 million) deaths in 2019.

Of these, while China contributed the most with 48 lakh (4.8 million) new cases and 27 lakh (2.7 million) deaths, Japan recorded about 900,000 new cases and 440,000 deaths, the international team of researchers including those from the National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra in the northern Indian state of Haryana and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and Bathinda, Punjab, said.

“We examined the temporal patterns of 29 cancers in 49 Asian countries between 1990 and 2019 using estimates from the Global Burden of Disease, Injuries and Risk Factors 2019 Study (GBD 2019),” they wrote in their study. They found that in Asia, the leading cancer was that of tracheal, bronchus, and lung (TBL), resulting in an estimated 13 lakh (1.3 million) cases and 12 lakh (1.2 million) deaths.

It was also found to be most frequent in men and third most frequent in women. Specifically among women, cervical cancer is ranked second or among top-5 cancers in several Asian countries.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, introduced in 2006, has proved to be effective in preventing the disease and reducing HPV-related deaths, the researchers said. Overall, in the continent and individual countries, TBL, breast, colon and rectum cancer (CRC), stomach and non-melanoma skin cancer were among the top five most frequent cancers in 2019 with few countries having leukemia, prostate, liver and pancreatic cancers in the list, they said in their study.

Further, smoking, alcohol consumption and ambient particulate matter (PM) pollution remained dominant among the 34 risk factors for cancer, they said.

“The rising cancer burden due to increasing ambient air pollution is concerning in Asia,” they wrote. Five of the top 10 countries with regards to population-weighted annual average of PM2.5 in 2019 are located in Asia — India, Nepal, Qatar, Bangladesh and Pakistan, they said quoting the State of Global Air Report, produced annually in collaboration with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s (IHME’s) GBD project.

(With PTI inputs)

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