Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


India has some of the highest cancer rates in the world

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 27 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:215

Rapid Response:

Cancer in India: Need for a coordinated response

The forthcoming release of the Indian Council of Medical Research
atlas [1] has brought the high incidence of cancer in many parts of India
to the fore. The cancer registry captures data only from a few parts of
the country. A more comprehensive nation wide cancer database is needed to
be able to gauge the true extent of cancer related morbidity and mortality
in India. Changing food habits & lifestyles, increasing use of tobacco
especially oral, environmental pollution and other factors contribute to
the occurrence of high cancer rates. There might also be a correlation
with the growing number of people afflicted with chronic diseases like
Hypertension, Diabetes etc. Improved surveillance techniques, and
partnerships with the private healthcare sector have also contributed in
identifying previously missed cases. Further research is needed to also
identify genetic linkages, and genetic- environmental influences that
could be a cause of this phenomenon.

The Indian government, public health professionals, clinicians and
researchers have to take cognizance of the seriousness of the situation,
with some of the highest rates in the world being reported. There is a
need for a coordinated effort by all these sectors along with civil
society to launch an effective response to the same.

[1] Mudur G. India has some of the highest cancer rates in the world. BMJ
2005; 330:215

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 February 2005
Anant Bhan
Fogarty International Fellow
University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, 88 College Street, Toronto, ON M5G 1L4, Canada