Monday, Feb 06, 2023 08:00 [IST]

Last Update: Monday, Feb 06, 2023 02:17 [IST]

Close the care gap

To raise awareness about cancer — a global health issue affecting millions of people worldwide — and encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment, World Cancer Day is observed every year on February 4. This year marks the second year of the campaign ‘close the care gap’ which is about understanding the inequities in cancer care and taking actions to make the necessary progress toward their redressal.

Amid the rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India, the menace of cancer, a major NCD, is also rising. As India continues to share a high burden of preventable communicable diseases, resource allocation to effectively fight NCDs like cancer may pose a challenge. Cancer accounts for nearly one in six deaths in 2020 (GLOBOCAN 2020 data- latest report from WHO). According to a 2022 report in India Medical Journal, the estimated number of incident cases of cancer in India for the year 2022 was found to be 14,61,427. According to the study, one in nine people are likely to develop cancer in his/her lifetime in India. The study also pointed out that lung and breast cancers were the leading sites of cancer in males and females, respectively. Among the childhood (0-14 yr) cancers, lymphoid leukaemia (boys: 29.2% and girls: 24.2%) was the leading site. The incidence of cancer cases is estimated to increase by 12.8 per cent in 2025 as compared to 2020, the study revealed. According to cancer registry data, it is predicted that approximately 8,00,000 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in India each year.

As we understand the various developments across the several types of cancer affecting the human population, it’s crucial to shift our focus toward two specific types of cancer which are on a steady rise among young women — breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women worldwide. In India, it accounts for 13.5% of all cancer cases (both sexes, all ages) and 10.6% of all deaths in India due to cancer (GLOBOCAN 2020-India data). According to ICGA Foundation, the survival rate of BC patients is poor in India, primarily due to earlier onset age, late-stage presentation of the disease, late commencement of decisive management, and inadequate treatment. As compared to the West, a higher percentage of breast cancer occurs at a younger age in India. There is a similar trend for colorectal cancer. More and more patients are being reported with colorectal, both male and female. Even 18-19 years young females are getting diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Our lifestyles today have undergone a massive transformation with sedentary habits and environmental toxicity taking over every aspect of our being. Together, they contribute to our deteriorating health in a major way. Something similar stands true for breast and colorectal cancers, too. These cancers need major policy impetus from the government.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi