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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 153-154

Time for cancer to be designated a notifiable disease in India

Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission28-Jan-2021
Date of Decision18-Feb-2021
Date of Acceptance21-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication26-Mar-2021

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_22_21

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How to cite this article:
Pradeep V. Time for cancer to be designated a notifiable disease in India. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2021;4:153-4

How to cite this URL:
Pradeep V. Time for cancer to be designated a notifiable disease in India. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jun 21];4:153-4. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2021/4/1/153/312070

Shetty et al. in their article titled “Incidence and pattern of distribution of cancer in India: A secondary data analysis from six population-based cancer registries (PBCRs)” analyzed the National Cancer Registry Program (NCRP) report of 2020 from various PBCRs.[1] I congratulate the authors for their successful analysis and would like to share my opinion about the same.

As cancer is not a notifiable disease in India, its actual burden is not known. The NCRP which is undoubtedly an enormous effort to evaluate the incidence and trends of different cancers in India covers only 10% of the entire Indian population.[2],[3] Furthermore, there is a significant urban dominance, with only 2 out of the 28 PBCRs being dedicated purely to the rural population,[3] and these cover only 0.1% of the rural population of India.[4] This is important to note, as there is a difference in the common cancer types between both the regions, with breast and lung cancers being more common in the urban registries and cervical and oral cancers being more common in the rural registries. In the article by Shetty et al.,[1] there is an underrepresentation of the rural population as most of the PBCRs selected for analysis cater mainly to the urban population, which may not necessarily signify the trend of cancer in India where almost two-third (68%) of the population live in rural areas.[5] Although the authors' efforts are commendable, addition of a rural PBCR would have added more value to the results.

As India is a vast country with a heterogeneous population, the fight against cancer requires proper analysis of the disease burden with extensive research to improve the treatment outcomes. Although India comprises almost 20% of the world population, most of the treatment guidelines followed in the country are based on studies conducted in the western population. Furthermore, there is a paucity of data on cancer types common in India, such as cervix and oral cancers. Notifiable diseases such as tuberculosis[6] and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, though benign, have shown us how standard treatment guidelines can be formulated and lead to significant improvement in the outcomes. Therefore, designating cancer as a notifiable disease will have an enormous impact and will help to determine the exact incidence and prevalence, analyze the risk factors, implement screening programs, and allocate proper resources to improve the outcomes. In addition, it is important to gauge the burden of cancer in the rural population where the cancer trends appear to be different, besides the lack of awareness and access to proper health-care facilities.

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There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Shetty R, Mathew RT, Vijayakumar M. Incidence and pattern of distribution of cancer in India: A secondary data analysis from six population-.based cancer registries. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:678-82.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
Behera P, Patro BK. Population based cancer registry of India – The challenges and opportunities. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 2018;19:2885-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Noronha V. Making a case for cancer research in India. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2018;1:71-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
Sirohi B, Mathew A. Patterns of cancer incidence in India – What next? Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:790-2.  Back to cited text no. 5
  [Full text]  
Roy S, Rai DR, Suresh G. Tuberculosis – A notifiable disease. J Indian Med Assoc 2012;110:728-31.  Back to cited text no. 6


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