Estimated National and State Level Incidence of Childhood and Adolescent Cancer in India

Indian Pediatr. 2021 May 15;58(5):417-423.


Background: Hitherto, incidence burden of childhood cancer in India has been derived from GLOBOCAN data. Recent analyses have challenged whether this accurately measures the true incidence of childhood cancer.

Objective: To use observed data rather than simulation to estimate the number of children (0-14 years), as well as number of children and adolescents (0-19 years), in India who develop cancer every year at the national and state/union territory (UT) level.

Methods: Age-specific (five year groups), sex-specific, and state/UT specific population data from India Census 2011 was used. Global average incidence rates from the International Incidence of Childhood Cancer 3 (IICC3) report were used. Incidence rates per million person-years for the 0-14 years and 0-19 years age groups were age-adjusted using the world standard population to provide age-standardized incidence rates, using the age-specific incidence rates for individual age groups (0-4 years, 5-9 years, 10-14 years, and 15-19 years).

Results: The national number of children (0-14 years) and, children and adolescents (0-19 years) that may develop cancer every year based on 2011 census are 52,366 and 76,805 persons respectively. Cancer type specific incidence is provided for each state/UT for these age ranges. This national incidence is approximately double of the GLOBOCAN 2018 estimates of incidence of children diagnosed and registered with cancer and the differential is greater in girls.

Conclusions: Our analysis proposes new estimates of incident childhood cancer cases in India for children and adolescents. Future regional, national and international research on childhood cancer epidemiology and healthcare accessibility would help further refine these estimates.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Registries