Burden of cancer and projections for 2016, Indian scenario: gaps in the availability of radiotherapy treatment facilities

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2008 Oct-Dec;9(4):671-7.


Plausible projections of future burden of cancer in terms of incident cases and requirement of radiotherapy treatment facilities at the national and state level are useful aids in planning of cancer control activities. The present communication attempts to provide a scenario for cancer in India during the year 2001 and its likely change by 2016 for all sites of cancer as well for selected leading sites. Further, a study was made of: (i) the state-wise distribution of radiotherapy treatment facilities and short falls; and (ii) pattern of investment of finances through central assistance by Government of India for cancer control activities during the various plan periods. The age, sex and site-wise cancer incidence data along with populations covered by 12 Indian population based cancer registries were obtained from the eighth volume of Cancer Incidence in Five Continents (CIV-VIII) and other published reports. Pooled age sex, site specific cancer incidence rates for twelve registries were estimated by taking weighted average of these registries with respective registry population as weight. Population of the country and states according to age and sex for different calendar years viz. 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 were obtained from the report of Registrar General of India. Population forecasts were combined with the pooled incidence rates of cancer to estimate the number of cancer cases by age, sex and site of cancer for the above 5-yearly periods. The existing radiotherapy facilities available in the country for cancer treatment during the year 2006 was based on the published reports and updated through personal communication from the Ministry of Health of India. During the year 2001, nearly 0.80 million new cancer cases were estimated in the country and this can be expected to increase to 1.22 million by 2016 as a result of change in size and composition of population. The estimated numbers were greater for females (0.406 millions, 2001) than males (0.392 millions, 2001). Lung, esophagus, stomach, oral and pharyngeal cancers are much higher in men while in women, cancers of cervix and breast are predominant forms followed by those of oral cavity, stomach and esophagus. Considering all the sources, it was noted that during the year 2006, there were 347 teletherapy units in the country as against a requirement of 1059. The state-wise analysis of the distribution of RCCs, and radio-therapy units shows wide gaps in the availability of facilities. The existing treatment facilities for cancer control in-terms of radiotherapy and financial allocation are woefully inadequate to take care of even the present load. The only way to fight this scourge under such circumstances is to have pragmatic programmes and policies based on currently available scientific information and sound public health principles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Care Facilities*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility / trends*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neoplasms / economics
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiation Oncology / economics
  • Radiation Oncology / trends
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Teleradiology / economics
  • Teleradiology / trends*