Risk of Cancer Development in India


Incidence as a measure of risk for development of cancer is a well accepted epidemiological concept whichcan be precisely defined. The present communication documents an estimate of the current probability ofdevelopment of cancer for specific age groups as well as for entire life time risk at the India country level forseveral cancers and “all sites together”. The published data on age specific cancer incidence rates from 12population based registries located at various parts of the country along with the abridged life tables relating tothe Indian population formed the basic material for computation. Employing life table methodology for estimates,the current probability (*100) of developing cancer of all sites from 35-64 years is 4.67% in males and 6.55%in females while life time risk was found to be 9.05% and 10.2% respectively. The greater risk in females wasmainly due to the high risk of development of cancer of the uterine cervix and breast. When the age-period of35 to 70+ years were considered, the probability percentage was found to be 9.94 % in males whereas it was11.6% in females. According to these estimates 1 in 10 men and 1 in 8 women in India can expect develop cancerof any form, in their life span after the age of 35 years. The probability of developing tobacco related cancersfrom 35 to 70+ years was found to be 4.75% and 2.16% in males and females respectively. Estimation in termsof probability will be useful in evaluating the changes in the disease spectrum as a result of change in mortalityexperience and population structure over a period of time.