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:

Rising cancer rates: the need for cessation in tobacco use

Rising incidence of cancer in India has come to light with
improvement in cancer registry as well as improved detection rates. Still
there are regions, where cancer goes undetected especially in rural
pockets without any access to health infrastructure. This alarming notice
of rising cancer rates by its type in specific regions should help
initiating measures to curb the corresponding risk factors. The explicit
link of tobacco and cancer need specific attention as tobacco use in
different forms goes unnoticed in several regions. The cultural sanction
of tobacco consumption in certain areas makes chewing a substitute to
smoking which is on a decline. While smoking in the form of cigarettes is
on a decline with lesser and lesser new entrants adopting this habit,
chewing it in different forms seem to be initiated early by younger
people. Tobacco use by socio-economic status would present a skewed
picture with the poor and the underprivileged having a larger share
compared with the well off. The consequence of tobacco use will manifest
more and more with increasing longevity and the later years of life will
cost a lot with the burden of cancer treatment. Hence the realization of
tobacco cessation is the need of the hour and spread of its awareness
among the most vulnerable could help in controlling this rising trend in

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

29 January 2005
Udaya S Mishra
Takemi Fellow, department of Population and International Health
Harvard school of Public Health, 665, Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA