Rise in cancer incidences among younger people in India, 60 per cent patients below 40 are men: Study | Health - Hindustan Times
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Rise in cancer incidences among younger people in India, 60 per cent patients below 40 are men: Study

PTI | | Posted by Krishna Priya Pallavi, New Delhi
May 27, 2024 11:22 AM IST

A new study indicates a rise of cancer incidences amongst younger people. It showed that 60 per cent of the cancer patients below the age of 40 years were men.

Twenty per cent of cancer patients who called an NGO-run helpline to seek a second opinion were below 40 years of age, indicating a rise of cancer incidences amongst younger people, data from the organisation stated. There were 1,368 callers between March 1 and May 15, according to the Cancer Mukt Bharat Foundation, launched by a group of oncologists.

The most number of calls were from Hyderabad, followed by Meerut, Mumbai and New Delhi, a statement by the NGO said. (Shutterstock)
The most number of calls were from Hyderabad, followed by Meerut, Mumbai and New Delhi, a statement by the NGO said. (Shutterstock)

The study showed that 60 per cent of the cancer patients below the age of 40 years were men. (Also Read | HPV vaccine provides real benefits for men and boys; reduces their risk of head and neck cancers: Study)

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It also found that the most prevalent cases were head and neck cancer (26 per cent), closely followed by Gastrointestinal cancers (16 per cent), breast cancer (15 per cent) and then blood cancers (9 per cent).

The most number of calls were from Hyderabad, followed by Meerut, Mumbai and New Delhi, a statement by the NGO said.

The helpline number (93-555-20202) was launched for the patients to seek second opinion free of cost. It is operational from 10 am to 5 pm from Monday to Saturday.

Cancer patients can call the helpline number to speak to leading oncologists directly or even do a video call to discuss their cancer treatment.

Dr Ashish Gupta, Principal Investigator and senior oncologist who is heading the Cancer Mukt Bharat Campaign said that since the launch of the helpline number, it has proven to be a support system for cancer patients across India and almost hundreds of calls are received every day.

"This study helps us make a more targeted cancer approach towards treatment and make India 'Cancer Mukt'. We found head and neck cancer was most prevalent which is nearly entirely preventable by lifestyle modification, vaccinations and screening strategies. Breast and colon cancers have very effective screening strategies for finding cancer in the early stages. Unfortunately as is representative of the population at large in India we found nearly 2/3rds of cancers were detected late likely due to low adoption of proper screening," Dr Gupta said.

The study also found that 27 per cent of cases diagnosed in India are in stages 1 and 2 of cancer whereas 63 per cent are in stage 3 or 4 cancer. The most common question of the cancer patients was for a second opinion and to confirm whether their cancer treatment was correct and up to date. Some also check the availability of the latest treatment or medicine to treat their respective cancer as in cancer treatment as new medicines are approved almost every week, he said.

The second most common question we found was patients asking what stage their cancer is in indicating the importance of education to cancer patients and thirdly patients commonly asked regarding their family members, what they can do to prevent cancer highlighting the importance of cancer screening and awareness, he said.

Cancer Mukt Bharat campaign aims to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer on individuals and communities through education and early detection, Dr Gupta said.

Further, the study showed that 67 per cent of the cancer patients who reached out to the organization were the ones who were taking cancer treatment from private hospitals. While 33 per cent were those were taking treatments from government hospitals, he said.

Dr Ashish Gupta further said, "In our country escalating rates of obesity, change in dietary habits, specifically the increase in consumption of ultra-processed food, and sedentary lifestyles also are associated with higher cancer rates. We must adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid the use of tobacco and alcohol to prevent the risk of cancer in the younger generation".

The helpline number offers a free opinion from leading oncologists, providing crucial guidance to patients navigating the complexities of cancer diagnosis and treatment, he said.

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.
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