`Gradual rise in prevalence of cancer in India`

New Delhi: The government today said there is a gradual rise in the prevalence of cancer in India even as it has taken several steps for prevention of the deadly disease.

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Sudip Bandyopadhyay said that according to "Three Year Report on Population Based Cancer Registries 2006-08" of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the estimated number of cancer patients for 2015 and 2020 are 11.61 lakh and 12.64 lakh respectively.

He said information regarding occurrence of cancer for individual states is not centrally maintained and that the government has taken several steps for prevention and early detection of cancer in India.

The Minister cited several reasons for incidence of cancer in the country, saying it is caused by several risk factors including tobacco, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and pollution.

He added that the national programme for prevention and control of cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and stroke (NPCDCS) is operational in 21 states in 100 districts
and health awareness is being carried out for prevention and early detection of cancer in the country.

In reply to another question, Bandyopadhyay said as per preliminary survey carried out by Punjab government in 2009 on cancer cases occurring during 2001-09, the number of deaths due to cancer in Moga district of Punjab was 793 and the prevalence rate of cancer in Moga district was 32.59 per lakh population.

He said as per the survey, the average prevalence rate of cancer in Punjab was 30.54 per lakh population, with Bhatinda and Muktsar district of the state showing a maximum prevalence of around 75 per lakh population and Amritsar district showing a minimum prevalence of 10.77 per lakh population.

The Minister added that a team of ICMR which visited Punjab in September 2010 noted a higher occurrence of cancer in the Malwa region as compared to other areas of Punjab, the reasons for this difference are not clear.