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World Cancer Day 2023: Top 4 deadliest cancers in India and their symptoms as per oncologists

By, New Delhi
Feb 04, 2023 02:20 PM IST

Ahead of World Cancer Day 2023, observed every year on February 4 to raise awareness about different kinds of cancer, we talk about some of the deadliest cancers in India and their symptoms as per oncologists.

Cancer cases across the globe have been on rise and lifestyle factors play a significant role in this increase. A World Health Organization (WHO) report released in 2020 said 1 in 10 Indians will develop cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 15 will die of it. In India the sharp rise in cancer have been associated with factors like being overweight, tobacco and alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise. As per the cancer registry data, it is estimated that there will be about 800,000 new cancers cases in India every year and there is likely to be 3 times this load i.e about 240,000 cases. Many of the cancers are preventable if people modify their lifestyle and avoid harmful habits that are increasing their risk of getting this dreaded disease. Ahead of World Cancer Day 2023, which is observed every year on February 4 to raise awareness about different kinds of cancer, we talk about the deadliest cancers in India and their symptoms as explained by oncologists. (Also read: 5 daily habits that are increasing your risk of esophageal cancer)

A World Health Organization (WHO) report released in 2020 said 1 in 10 Indians will develop cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 15 will die of it.(Shutterstock)
A World Health Organization (WHO) report released in 2020 said 1 in 10 Indians will develop cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 15 will die of it.(Shutterstock)

1. Lung Cancer

Approximately 1 in every 13 males will experience lung cancer at some point in their lives, says Dr Priyanshu Choudhary, Medical Oncologist, Shalby Hospitals Mohali.

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"Lung cancer is the most common cancer in men in India and the second most common overall. 80% of patients with lung cancer have a history of smoked tobacco use, but the incidence is now increasing even in women and non-smokers," says Dr Prashant Mehta, Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology/Hematoncology/BMT, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad on Lung Cancer.

Lung cancer begins in the lungs and can spread to other areas of the body. Common causes include smoking, air pollution, and exposure to certain chemicals. The prognosis for lung cancer varies depending on the type, stage, and overall health of the individual.

Symptoms of lung cancer

"A persistent cough, coughing up blood (haemoptysis), chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, fatigue, low energy levels, hoarseness, recurrent respiratory infections, and coughing up of reddish phlegm or blood are the most common symptoms of respiratory problems and lung cancer," says Dr Choudhary.

2. Colorectal Cancer

For India, 5.1 per 100,000 women and 7.2 per 100,000 men in the population, respectively, are affected by colorectal cancer. What makes colorectal cancer deadly is because it is often diagnosed at a later stage when cancer has already spread to other areas of the body.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer

"An ongoing alteration in your bowel habits such as constipation, diarrhoea, or a change in your faeces. Bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stools. Abdominal discomforts that last a long time, such as cramps, gas, or agony," says Dr Choudhary.

3. Breast Cancer

Every four minutes, a woman in India receives a diagnosis of breast cancer, which accounts for 14% of all tumours in Indian women. If detected at an early-stage breast cancer is curable with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, says Dr Choudhary.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Dr Sunny Jain, HOD and Sr. Consultant Oncology, Marengo QRG Hospital Faridabad talks about the symptoms of breast cancer.

• A lump or mass in breast or thickening in breast.

• Change in size, shape or appearance of a breast.

• If a female notices any skin changes in breast like dimpling, redness, pitting, peau d orange (dried orange peel like skin)

• Any change in shape, size, position of nipple and or areola

• Abnormal nipple discharge - bloody, serosanguinous.

4. Pancreatic Cancer

The 65-69 age group was found to have the highest incidence of pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal and deadliest cancers in the human body. This cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage when cancer has already spread to other organs, worsening the outlook for those affected, says Dr Choudhary.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer

- Radiating backache from your abdomen

- Appetite loss or unintentional weight loss

- Stool in a light colour

- Urine with a dark hue and jaundice

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