The disability adjusted life year (DALY) has been employed to quantify the burden of diseases. This measureallows for combining in a single indicator “years of life lived with disabilities (YLD)” and “years of life lost frompremature death (YLL)”. The present communication attempts to estimate the burden of cancers in-terms ofYLL, YLD and DALY for “all sites” and leading sites of cancer in India for the years 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016.The YLL, YLD and DALY were estimated by employing Global Burden of Disease (GBD) methodology usingthe DISMOD procedure. The published data on age, gender and site specific cancer incidence and mortality forthe years 2001-2003 relating to six population-based cancer registries viz. Bangalore, Barshi, Bhopal, Chennai,Delhi and Mumbai, expectation of life by gender for urban areas of the country for 1999-2003 and the projectedpopulation during years 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 were utilized for the computations. DALYs were found tobe lower for males (2,038,553, 2,313,843, 2,656,693 and 3,021,708 for 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 respectively)as compared to females (2,560,423, 2,961,218, 3,403,176 and 3,882,649). Amongst males, highest DALYs werecontributed by cancer of the lung and esophagus while in females they were for cancers of breast and cervix uteri.It is estimated that total DALYs due to cancer in India combined for both genders would increase from 4,598,976in 2001 to 6,904,358 by 2016. Premature mortality is a major contributor to disease burden. According to thepresent estimates, the YLL component of DALY is about 70.0%. The above described computations reveal anurgent need for initiating primary and secondary prevention measures for control of cancers.