Cancer death rates: US vs India

Cancer is a rampant public health problem globally. There is an interesting emerging global trend in Cancer incidences  and death rates. While the rates are decreasing in the United States and many other western countries, they are increasing in less developed and economically transitioning countries[1]. Taking in perspective US and India, this trend is apparent from recent National cancer projections.

A recent report by American Cancer Society (ACS) published on January 17th 2013, revealed that overall cancer deaths in US have declined by 20% since their peak in 1991. The report notes that cancer deaths rates have fallen from 1991 (their peak) to 2009 (the most recent figures available), decreasing from 215.1 to 173.1 per 100,000 [2].

However looking at the current trends in India, it has been projected that the total cancer cases are likely to go up from 979,786 cases in the year 2010 to 1,148,757 cases in the year 2020 [3].
The latest available figure of cancer death rate is from national representative study conducted by Tata Memorial Hospital in 2001—03 [4]. The Age-standardised cancer mortality rates per 100 000 were: Rural- M=95·6  F=96·6 and Urban- M=102·4 F=91·2.

Taking cancer seriously and taking public health measures for prevention and early detection has started paying dividends for US. While in India we are walking the same path already travelled by the developed nations;  by failing to stop the adoption of unhealthy western lifestyles such as smoking and physical inactivity and consumption of calorie-dense food.  Measures in the form of awareness creation, prevention and early detection are required to cut this trend.

[1]  Ahmedin Jemal, Melissa M. Center, Carol DeSantis and Elizabeth M. Ward : Global Patterns of Cancer Incidence and Mortality Rates and Trends
[2] Rebecca Siegel MPH; Deepa Naishadham MA, MS; Ahmedin Jemal DVM, PhD : Cancer Statistics 2013 (CA: A cancer journal for clinicians)
[3] Ramnath Takiar,Deenu Nadayil,A Nandakumar : Projections of Number of Cancer Cases in India (2010-2020) by Cancer Groups
[4] Rajesh Dikshit, Prakash C Gupta et al. : Cancer mortality in India- a nationally representative survey

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  1. One of the very few interesting analysis i read on the benefits of spices and the Indian way of diet. However, one thing that attracts my attention is the percentage of death rate as against the number of cases. The cases are much high in the US but the death rate is very high in Asia.. But overall a very informative and educative article.. Have a nice one!! If you have been interested just click

  2. The statement that Age Standardized cancer mortality rate is 193 per 100,000 does not seems to be correct. Even the result quoted in the statement are (Rural- M=95·6 F=96·6; Urban- M=102·4 F=91·2) does not support the statement. The latest report of NCRP (2009-11) data suggests that all of the registries have mortality to incidence ratio below 70. The incidence of 25 registries out of 30 gives Incidence to be below 150 . Going by this the mortality should be around 100 per 100,000. The authors may explain the discrepancy pointed.

  3. Sir, thanks for pointing out this error. Will make a correction.


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