|LETTERS TO EDITOR
|Year : 2021 | Volume
| 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 Submission||28-Jan-2021|
|Date of Decision||18-Feb-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||21-Feb-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||26-Mar-2021|
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|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
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. 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., Furthermore, there is a significant urban dominance, with only 2 out of the 28 PBCRs being dedicated purely to the rural population, and these cover only 0.1% of the rural population of India. 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., 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. 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 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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Conflicts of interest
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| References|| |
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. [Full text]
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Sirohi B, Mathew A. Patterns of cancer incidence in India – What next? Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:790-2. [Full text]
Roy S, Rai DR, Suresh G. Tuberculosis – A notifiable disease. J Indian Med Assoc 2012;110:728-31.