New Delhi: Preventable cancers  comprise up to 60–70% of the total cancer burden in India, said Dr Naresh Purohit, Advisor- National Cancer Control Programme and stressed the need for a 
Multi-pronged strategy to tackle the growing burden of cancer in India and striking the preventable cancer burden could be the best long term approach.

 Sharing his concern here on the occassion of National Cancer Awareness Day on Sunday acclaimed Epidemiologist Dr Purohit revealed specific concerns with respect to the Indian population which include smokeless tobacco, country made liquors and infections (mostly ano-genital HPV and Hepatitis). 

He  pointed that unique dietary habits (deep fried and spicy food) coupled with increasing burden of obesity and a propensity of the population toward physical inactivity is also a growing area of concern. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is a leading cause of death globally, accounting for nearly 10 million fatalities in 2020. Cancer in lungs, colon and rectum, liver, stomach and breast, respectively, was the most common cause of death in 2020.

Association of Studies for Cancer Care, Executive Member- Dr Purohit observed that Iack of nationwide screening guidelines and vaccination strategies are further hurdles in inciting an attack on these preventable cancers.

Noted  Physician Dr Purohit emphasised that  tobacco control law and program needs to be prioritised and implemented effectively across all states of the country. Apart from government initiatives, advocacy by civil society and efforts of non-government organisations also needs to be promoted in this regard for cancer control. 

He added that cost-effective strategies for screening could include screening of women (30–49 years of age) with visual inspection; oral cancer screening with visual inspection by a trained health care worker in high risk individuals; and clinical breast examination biennially in specific age groups (40–60 years). Although, this strategy is not evidence based, this could be an inexpensive, practical and resource stratified approach. Similarly, one or two doses of quadrivalent HPV vaccine in girls (9–26 years) could be a widely applicable vaccination strategy.

Dr Purohit further said that  the unique challenges of preventable cancer burden in India may be dealt with indigenous and India- specific approaches which may result in a sustainable long term control of cancer.