While worldwide cancer incidence is more in men than in women, India has more cancer incidence in women rather than men. India has the third highest incidence of cancer among women, after China and USA.
According to NCIRP, for every 2 women diagnosed with breast cancer, 1 woman dies of it. According to ‘Call for Action: Expanding cancer care for women in India, 2017′ report, cancer among women is estimated to be 0.7 million in India.
India is also one of the top two countries in the mortality rate of women-specific cancers. India has the highest mortality rates for breast and cervical cancer and second highest in ovarian cancer globally. It is regretful to know that these cancers are preventable or cured if detected on time but still the mortality is high.
There are various socio-cultural, socio-economic reasons for the high occurrence of cancer among women. Women in Indian culture are burdened with home and work responsibilities which often leads them to neglect their own health. Most women neglect their own health to focus on their responsibilities towards the family.
Most of the women, especially in rural areas, are not aware of cancer and its risk factors. Some women do not have access to a hospital while some are not allowed to visit hospital due to social barriers. Most women do not realize until the cancer reaches terminal stage.
Women are not educated enough in villages and are married in an early age. Early age pregnancy or unsafe sex can also lead to cancer. Various studies have shown that women are not aware of cancer or its symptoms.
Most of the women are not comfortable to express the symptoms of breast cancer and cervical cancer due to social taboos. They are not aware of the seriousness of these symptoms. Many medical camps and awareness programs are run across the country by the government and NGOs but women are not allowed to attend these camps in some backward regions.
Cancer awareness among women and timely detection can significantly save lives.