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India Ranks Second in Asian Cancer Burden, Lancet Report Highlights Alarming Trends

India has been identified as the second-highest contributor to cancer cases and deaths in Asia, with a recent Lancet report shedding light on the alarming statistics. The study, conducted by an international team of researchers, disclosed that India recorded around 12 lakh new cancer cases and 9.3 lakh deaths in 2019, solidifying its position as a significant player in the Asian disease burden landscape.

China topped the list with a staggering 48 lakh new cases and 27 lakh deaths, while Japan followed with approximately nine lakh new cases and 4.4 lakh deaths. Tracheal, bronchus, and lung (TBL) cancer emerged as the predominant cancer type in Asia, contributing to an estimated 13 lakh cases and 12 lakh deaths.

The report highlighted the elevated risk of cervical cancer among women in several Asian countries and underscored the effectiveness of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in preventing the disease and lowering associated mortality rates.

Risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and ambient particulate matter (PM) pollution were identified as major contributors to the rising cancer burden in Asia. The researchers expressed concern over the escalating cancer rates linked to increasing air pollution in the region, driven by industry-led economic growth, urbanization, rural-to-urban migration, and a surge in motor vehicle use.

Of notable concern was the prevalence of smokeless tobacco (SMT) in South Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Products such as khaini, gutkha, betel quid, and paan masala were identified as significant contributors to lip and oral cavity cancer cases and deaths.

The study emphasized the urgency of prioritizing timely cancer screening and treatment availability, particularly in low- and medium-income Asian countries where oncologic infrastructure is often lacking or unaffordable, especially in rural areas. Addressing these challenges, the report suggested, is crucial for improving survival rates and overall cancer outcomes in the region.

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