WHO: 14.1 Lakh Cancer Cases, 9.1 Lakh Deaths in India

India is facing a high burden of cancer, with more than 14.1 lakh new cases and over 9.1 lakh deaths due to the disease in 2022, according to the latest estimates of the disease’s global burden by the World Health Organization (WHO). Breast cancer was the most common type of cancer in India, followed by cancers of lip, oral cavity, lung and cervix.

Global scenario

Globally, the WHO estimated that there were 2 crore new cancer cases and 97 lakh deaths in 2022, and about 5.3 crore people were alive within five years following a cancer diagnosis. About one in five people develop cancer in their lifetime, and roughly one in nine men and one in 12 women die from the disease.

Lung cancer was the most commonly occurring cancer and also the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, accounting for almost 19 per cent of the total cancer deaths. Breast cancer in women was the second most commonly occurring cancer and accounted for nearly seven per cent of the global cancer deaths.

Regional variations

The WHO also reported regional variations in the incidence and mortality rates of cancer. The age-standardised rate of new cases per one lakh people was the highest in Europe at 246, followed by Australia-New Zealand at 242 and Northern America at 223. In India, this rate was 94.

The age-standardised rate of deaths per one lakh people was also the highest in Europe at 82, followed by Africa at 72 and Asia at 69. In India, this rate was 59.

Cervical cancer elimination

The WHO highlighted that cervical cancer was the eighth most commonly occurring cancer globally and the ninth leading cause of cancer death. It was also the most common cancer in women in 25 countries, many of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

The WHO said that cervical cancer can be eliminated as a public health problem through the scale-up of its Cervical Cancer Elimination Initiative, which aims to vaccinate, screen and treat women for cervical cancer by 2030.

Financing challenges

The WHO also published survey results from 115 countries on their financing of priority cancer and palliative care services as part of universal health coverage. It found that only 39 per cent of the countries covered the basics of cancer management as part of their financed core health services for all citizens, and only 28 per cent additionally covered care for people requiring palliative care, including pain relief.

The WHO urged countries to invest more in cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and care, especially in low- and middle-income countries where the gaps are widest.

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