People under 40 account for 20pc cancer cases in India: Study

IANS Photo

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Cancer is affecting more young people in India. A new study on Friday showed that 20 per cent of the cancer cases in the country are being seen in men and women below the age of 40.

The study by Cancer Mukt Bharat Foundation, a Delhi-based non-profit, showed that 60 per cent below 40 cancer patients were men, while 40 per cent were women.

Head and neck cancer (26 per cent) were the most prevalent, closely followed by gastrointestinal cancers (16 per cent) like colon, stomach, and liver. Breast cancer accounted for 15 per cent, and blood cancers for 9 per cent.

Ashish Gupta, Principal Investigator and Senior Oncologist, spearheading the Cancer Mukt Bharat Campaign in India blamed the rise in cancers among young adults for a poor lifestyle.

"In our country escalating rates of obesity, change in dietary habits, specifically the increase in consumption of ultra-processed food, and sedentary lifestyles also are associated with higher cancer rates," Ashish said.

"We must adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid the use of tobacco and alcohol to prevent the risk of cancer in the younger generation," he added.

The study also showed that 27 per cent of cases diagnosed in India are in stages 1 and 2 of cancer whereas 63 per cent were Stage 3 or 4 cancer.

"Nearly two-thirds of cancers were detected late, likely due to low adoption of proper screening," said Ashish.

The study was conducted on 1,368 cancer patients across India who called the foundation's Cancer Helpline Number between March 1 and May 15.