Prevalence based Epidemiological Cancer Statistics: A Brief Assessment from Different Populations in India
Modern civilization, urbanization, industrialization, changes in daily life, population growth and ageing all have contributed to epidemiological changes in many diseases, including cancer, in India and other countries. Tobacco has been identified as the most important cause of cancer followed by alcohol consumption, dietary practices, inadequate physical activity, infections due to viruses and sexual behavior. The total number of new cancer cases is increasing rapidly, due to growth in size of the population, and an increase in the proportion of elderly persons, as a result of improved life expectancy, following control of communicable diseases. Such changes in the age structure automatically alter the disease pattern associated with ageing and increase the burden of problems such as cancer, cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases in the society. Knowledge based on epidemiological patterns and trends would be of great help in identifying persons at high risk for the development of a particular cancer. Public education on ‘tobacco and its health hazards’, recommended dietary guidelines, safe sexual practices, and lifestyle modifications form the scientific basis for planning and organizing prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in a community. Moreover, incorporating screening for cervical, breast and oral cancers into the peripheral health infrastructure can have a significant effect on reducing mortality from these diseases. This paper highlights the incidence and prevalence based epidemiological cancer statistics, its early detection and prevention measures in India.