Childhood cancers 7.9% of all cancers in India 2012-19: ICMR report

September 26 2021

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A total of 7.9 per cent of all cancer cases between 2012-19 were found in children below 14 years, a report prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research said.

"Clinicopathological Profile of Cancers in India: A Report of the Hospital-Based Cancer Registries, 2021", consolidates data collected during the period across 96 hospital-based cancer registries under the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP). The data pertains to all diagnosed and treated cases of confirmed malignancies reported to these centres across the country

The country registered 13,32,207 cases of cancer during 2012-19. Of these, 6,10,084 were included for analysis, based on the completeness and quality of data.

Childhood cancers rank ninth as a leading cause of childhood diseases at the global level, accounting for 11.5 million of the Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs).

In India, according to a recent NCRP report, the proportion of childhood cancers (0-19 years), relative to cancers in all age groups, was found to range from 1 per cent to 4.9 per cent.

Delhi reported the highest age-adjusted incidence rate (AAR) of 203.1 per million in boys and 125.4 per million in girls. Leukaemia accounted for nearly half of all the childhood cancers in both genders in the 0-14 years age group (46.4 per cent in boys and 44.3 per cent in girls). The other common childhood cancer in boys was lymphoma (16.4 per cent), while in girls, it was malignant bone tumour (8.9 per cent).

Childhood cancers are presented for two age groups: 0-14 years and 0-19 years to enable national and international comparison, and classified according to the International Classification of Childhood Cancer.

Apart from childhood cancer, the ICMR report says that cancers in sites associated with tobacco use comprised 48.7 per cent of cancers among males and 16.5 per cent among females.

The relative proportion of site-specific cancers was higher in males than females except for thyroid cancer (2.5 per cent in females versus 1 per cent in males) and gall bladder cancer (3.7 per cent in females versus 2.2 per cent in males).

Among all the cancers, the highest proportion of distant metastasis at presentation was seen in patients with lung cancer (49.2 per cent males and 55.5 per cent females), followed by gall bladder cancer (40.9 per cent males and 45.7 per cent females) and prostate cancer (42.9 per cent).

The ICMR reports suggested that chemotherapy was still the most typical treatment modality for many cancers, regardless of the clinical extent of disease at presentation, including cancers of the liver, gall bladder, stomach, lung, and childhood cancers.

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