NEW DELHI: The prevalence rate of common cancer in India could be much higher than estimated by national registry for the disease, maintained by the Indian Council for Medical Research.
The recently released National Health Profile 2019 has revealed that the number of per lakh cancer incidence in India, at nearly 258 per lakh population, is way higher than what was recorded earlier at about 106 per lakh population in 2016.
The profile released earlier this week said of about 6.5 crore people screened under the National Programme for Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) in 2018, nearly 1.7 lakh were diagnosed with common cancers, which include oral, cervical and breast cancers.
Under NPCDCS, launched first in 100 districts in 2010, persons above 30 years of age are screened for non-communicable diseases at NCD clinics at the community health centres and district hospitals. Since February 2017 the programme was scaled in more districts.
Even considering that the population screened is at higher risk than the general population, the prevalence rate of cancer is considerably higher than registered earlier, an official in the NCD section of the Union Health Ministry pointed out.
Meghalaya recorded the highest number of cases at around 2,987 incidences per lakh population.Oncology researchers, however, cautioned that only a full- fledged NPCDCS will give a clear picture of the cancer map of the country. “There is a certain sub-set of population screened under the central scheme which is yet to fully roll out; so we should wait before drawing a final conclusion,” said Krithiga Sridhar, epidemiologist with the Public Health Foundation of India.
Dinesh Pendharkar, president of the Indian Society for Oncology, too, suggested that “registry data which counts population based data, is the real data”.