Unmasking the Surge: Exploring the Alarming Growth of Cancer in India

Cancer, a term that invokes fear and concern, has been on the rise in India over the past few decades. The increasing incidence of cancer cases poses a significant health challenge for the country. Being a major health problem in India, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), there were an estimated 13.9 lakh new cancer cases in India in 2020. This number is expected to rise to 15.7 lakh by 2025. This is because of several factors, such as:

Changing Lifestyles: Modernization has led to sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, and increased tobacco and alcohol consumption, all of which are linked to various types of cancers.

Tobacco Use: India has one of the highest rates of tobacco consumption in the world. Smoking and chewing tobacco are major risk factors for oral, lung, and other cancers.

Environmental Factors: Exposure to pollution, pesticides, and industrial chemicals can increase the risk of certain cancers.

Aging Population: As life expectancy increases, the incidence of cancer also rises, as many types of cancer are more common in older individuals.

Lack of Awareness: Delayed diagnosis and treatment due to lack of awareness and misconceptions about cancer contribute to its progression.

The 3 most common cancers in India are:

Lung cancer: Lung cancer is the most common cancer in India, accounting for about 25% of all cancers. It is also the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. The risk of lung cancer increases with age, and it is more common in men than women.


  • Persistent Cough
  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Coughing up blood
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Bone pain
  • Headaches

Causes and Risk Factors:

  • Tobacco Use
  • Air Pollution
  • Radon Exposure
  • Occupational Hazards
  • Genetic Factors
  • Previous Lung Disease


  • Avoid Tobacco
  • Avoid Second hand Smoke
  • Radon Testing
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
  • Given the risk factors and family history, regular lung cancer tests are advised
  • Adhere to workplace safety guidelines for potential lung cancer risk factors

Breast Cancer: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in India, accounting for about 25% of all cancer cases in women. The risk of breast cancer increases with age, and it is more common in women who have never been pregnant or who had their first child after the age of 30.


  • A lump in the breast
  • Shift in the breast’s size or form
  • Dimpling of the skin of the breast
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • Redness or swelling of the breast
  • A change in the skin of the nipple, such as puckering or scaling
  • Pain in the breast or armpit

Causes and Risk Factors:

  • Age and Gender
  • Family history and genetics increase breast cancer risk
  • Long-term HRT use may slightly increase risk
  • Exposure to Estrogen
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Dense breasts


  • Be aware of your breasts and perform regular self-examinations
  • Get regular mammograms starting at age 40
  • Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Do not smoke

Cervical Cancer: Cervical cancer is a significant health issue in India and is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths among Indian women. The bottom portion of the uterus that links to the vagina is known as the cervix. Cervical cancer is often linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.


  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, including menopause, or intercourse
  • Vaginal discharge that is bloody or has a foul odour
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic pain
  • Painful urination
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

Causes and Risk Factors:

  • HPV Infection
  • Lack of Screening
  • Smoking
  • Weak Long-Term Oral Contraceptive Use Immune System


  • HPV Vaccination
  • Regular Screenings
  • Quit Smoking
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
  • Eating a Healthy Diet and Exercising Regularly

While the challenge of cancer growth in India is formidable, it is not insurmountable. By fostering a culture of awareness, empathy, and collaboration, we can create a comprehensive ecosystem that embraces prevention, early detection, quality treatment, and holistic support. Every step taken in this direction brings us closer to a future where the burden of cancer is significantly reduced, and the lives of countless individuals are positively transformed. Together, let us stand united in the fight against cancer and work towards a healthier and brighter India for generations to come. For more information or inquiry, please call +91 98254 45403/09 or email: info@saraswatihospitals.com

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