Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

WHO highlights ways to reduce cancer riskIOCRPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Stats related to incidence of cancer in India and the World


Menace of Cancer

  1. With cancer emerging as the second leading cause of death globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed ways to reduce cancer risk.
  2. The WHO said consumption of tobacco and alcohol, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity are major factors that increases cancer risk worldwide and are also the four shared risk factors for other non-communicable diseases.

What is Cancer?

  1. Cancer is the uncontrolled multiplication of cells. Cancer can spread from where it started to another part of the body.
  2. The original cancer is called the primary tumor. The cancer in another part of the body is called metastatic or secondary cancer.
  3. Metastatic cancer has the same type of cancer cells as the primary cancer.
  4. The term metastatic cancer is usually used to describe solid tumors that have spread to another part of the body.

What Causes Cancer?

  1. Some chronic infections are risk factors for cancer and have major relevance in low and middle-income countries.
  2. Approximately 15% of cancers diagnosed in 2012 were attributed to carcinogenic infections, including Helicobacter pylori, Human papillomavirus (HPV), Hepatitis B virus, Hepatitis C virus, and Epstein-Barr virus.
  3. Hepatitis B and C viruses and some types of HPV increase the risk for liver and cervical cancer, respectively.
  4. Infection with HIV substantially increases the risk of cancers such as cervical cancer.

WHO advisory

  • not to consume any form of tobacco,
  • to make one’s home smoke-free,
  • to enjoy a healthy diet,
  • to vaccinate children against Hepatitis B and HPV,
  • to use sun protections,
  • to take part in organised screening programmes,
  • Breastfeeding reduces a mother’s cancer risk.

Incidence of Cancer in India

  1. Doctors have warned that prevalence of cancer cases are on the rise in India.
  2. The Indian Council of Medical Research stated that approximately 12 to 13 lakh new cases of cancer are being diagnosed every year along with an existing 25 to 30 lakh cancer cases at any given time in India.
  3. The saddest part is that a vast majority of them are being diagnosed in advanced stages.
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