India has historically been associated with low rates of cancer. This may be in part because life expectancy was low and cancer is largely a disease of old age. It is, though, in part because tobacco use and other causes of cancer are only now on the increase among many Indians.
Over the past few years, incidence of cancer has been on the rise in the country and, with it, fatalities from the disease.
In India, there were more than 2.8 million cases and 465,169 deaths in 2012. In 2014, there were more than 3 million cases and 491,598 deaths.
This figure is expected to increase over the next few years.
In May, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) anticipated that 1.45 million people would develop cancer during 2016. The ICMR expects this to increase to 1.73 million by 2020. Fatalities will increase too. 730,000 people are expected to die from cancer this year, with 880,000 deaths predicted for 2020.
The Times of India has highlighted that India has one of the lowest survival rates of cancer in the world. There are numerous reasons for this. Chief among them is the fact that, on average, Indian patients wait four months before seeking a cancer diagnosis, as reported by the ToI earlier this year. Some wait as long as three years, the article said.
The article further commented that cancer survival rates in India are half those in the more economically developed world.