According to the GLOBOCON 2020 study, the prevalence of cancer affecting the Indian women in decreasing order are Breast Carcinoma, Carcinoma of Cervix and Uterus, Carcinoma Ovary, Carcinoma Lip, oral cavity and Carcinoma of Colorectum.

Do Indian women have the same risk of cancer when compared to the rest of the world?

According to Lancet Oncology, the peak age of the onset of breast and ovarian cancer in India is at 45-50 years in India. This is a decade younger than the peak age-which is 60 years–in high-income countries. It is estimated that at least one woman dies of cervical cancer every 8 minutes in India, while for every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it in India

Why is it so?

Sadly due to lack of awareness near about 75% of women present at an advanced stages which limits the treatment modalities.

What is the incidence of Breast Cancer in India and how is it different from the rest of the world?

It is a difficult question. Firstly it is estimated that 1 out 22 Indian women are estimated to develop Carcinoma breast in her lifetime. Indian population has a few peculiarities

  1. The proportional prevalence in younger age-groups in India is higher than the global average.
  2. A lot of patients are being diagnosed in their late 20s or early 30s contrary to global trends
  3. Almost 50% of breast cancer patients first visit the doctor when they are in stage 3 and 15-20% of patients visit when they are in stage 4.
  4. Nearly 48% are diagnosed in the premenopausal age, which implies a more aggressive disease and negative effect on the overall prognosis and disease burden.

Is there a regional divide in cancer in Indian women?

Sadly yes recent studies show an increase in trend of Cervical cancer in rural women against a rise in number of Breast Cancer patient in the Urban India.

Why is it so?

  1. Cervical Cancer: Women in Rural India is poor menstrual hygiene only 12 per cent of women in India use sanitary pads, thanks to the taboo surrounding menstruation and thereby lack of accessibility to adequate sanitation. Unhygienic practices can lead to fungal infections, Reproductive Tract Infection and Urinary Tract Infection, thereby causing cervical cancer
  2. Breast Cancer: As it is a hormonal dependant disease, practices which increases the estrogen levels or leads to long levels of unopposed estrogen are responsible for example high-fat diet, obesity, late marriage, fewer children, inadequate breast feeding. This is more prevalent in the Urban women.

Do women suffer from head and neck cancer?

Yes according to GLOBOCON 2018 study, head neck cancer contribute to 10% of all new cancer affecting the Indian women.

Which cancers in the women are preventable?

  1. Cervical cancer : Avoiding smoking , maintaining menstrual hygiene, HPV vaccine, practice monogamy
  2. Breast Cancer: avoid westernization of diet, breast feeding, shunning alcohol and smoking, exercise
  3. Head and neck cancer: Maintaining oral hygiene, avoiding tobacco in any form.