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  Table of Contents  
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 182-183

Cancer surveillance of the indigenous population in India: Much needed

1 Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
2 Department of Surgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Web Publication2-May-2019

Correspondence Address:
Mukund Namdev Sable
Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_480_18

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How to cite this article:
Sable MN, Mishra T. Cancer surveillance of the indigenous population in India: Much needed. Indian J Cancer 2019;56:182-3

How to cite this URL:
Sable MN, Mishra T. Cancer surveillance of the indigenous population in India: Much needed. Indian J Cancer [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Nov 26];56:182-3. Available from:

Cancer is a multifactorial disease with heterogenicity in its etiopathogenesis. There is a substantial rise in cancer incidence and mortality in both developed and developing countries resulting in a major socio-economic impact. Although incidence rates remain highest in developed countries, the rapid changes in lifestyles and socio-cultural transformation are also bringing up cancer-related risk factors among populations of developing countries. GLOBOCON project 2012 has estimated the cancer burden in India is likely to escalate, to more than 1.7 million cancer cases in the next 20 years.[1] In developing countries like India, the earlier rise in the incidence of cancer was because of the inferior standards of living. In the past few decades, this spurt has been more because of increase in cancers linked to the improved socio-economic conditions and better living standards i.e. cancer related to sex hormone exposure, reduced average family sizes and changes in food habits.[2]

The indigenous people constitute 8.6% of the Indian population as per the census of India, 2011. They have a heterogeneous geographic distribution in the country. The indigenous population of India is estimated to be 104 million that is second largest in the world next to China. An extensive search of English literature failed to reveal even a single population-based study that would demonstrate the exact scenario of cancer in indigenous Indians, in terms of its incidence, type of cancers, risk factors, genetic, and molecular profile. Very few countries such as Australia and New Zealand have estimated the burden of cancer in their indigenous populations with the help of well-resourced cancer registries, and they have been able to identify cancer as the second leading cause of death among indigenous people with lower survival than non-indigenous one. The burden of various cancers in indigenous Africans is of increasing trend in most cancers indicating the need of surveillance for the establishment of appropriate cancer-control strategies.[3]

More than 635 tribal groups including 73 primitive tribes exist in India with diversity in their ethnicity, lifestyle, environment, social, and cultural habits. The actual cancer related statistics in the indigenous population of India is non-existent because of ignorance and apathy toward both health status and cancer awareness. The only solution to resolve this deficiency in future is by establishing a convenient, appropriate, and reliable system for complete assimilation of data through cancer screening programs and establishing registries, which is a need of the hour for the better cancer control initiatives within the indigenous Indian population that stands a whopping one-third of the total indigenous community of the world.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, et al. Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: Sources, methods and major patterns in GLOBOCAN 2012. Int J Cancer 2015;136:E359-86.  Back to cited text no. 1
Mallath MK, Taylor DG, Badwe RA, Rath GK, Shanta V, Pramesh CS, et al. The growing burden of cancer in India: Epidemiology and social context. Lancet Oncol 2014;15:e205-12.  Back to cited text no. 2
Parkin DM, Sitas F, Chirenje M, Stein L, Abratt R, Wabinga H, et al. Part I: Cancer in indigenous Africans – Burden, distribution, and trends. Lancet Oncol 2008;9:683-92.  Back to cited text no. 3


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