mobile header

Are Women More Affected by Cancer than Men in India?

Cancer, an ailment that knows no boundaries, affects millions of people worldwide. However, when we turn our gaze to India, a fascinating and urgent question arises: Are women more affected by cancer than men in this diverse and populous country?


The Current Landscape: Cancer Incidence and Mortality Rates

To answer whether women are more affected by cancer than men in India, we need to examine cancer incidence and mortality rates among both genders. According to the Global Cancer Observatory by the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2020 India reported around 1.32 million new cancer cases.

Cancer Incidence:

Men: Approximately 679,421 new cases.

Women: Approximately 712,758 new cases.

Cancer Mortality:

Men: Approximately 394,455 deaths.

Women: Approximately 373,665 deaths.

At first glance, it appears that women have a slightly higher incidence of cancer than men. However, the mortality rates show a higher number of deaths among men.

Common Types of Cancer in India by Gender

For Women:

Breast Cancer: The most common cancer among Indian women, constituting about 27% of all new cancer cases.

Cervical Cancer: Accounts for around 16.5% of new cancer cases. Ovarian Cancer: Approximately 6% of cases.

Oral Cancer: Less common but still significant.

For Men:

Oral Cancer: The most prevalent, accounting for about 16.2% of new cases.

Lung Cancer: Around 10.6% of cases.

Stomach Cancer: Approximately 6.8% of cases.

Colorectal Cancer: About 6.3% of cases.

Factors Influencing Cancer Incidence and Mortality

Biological Differences:

Hormonal Influences: Hormones like estrogen and progesterone can affect cancer development, particularly breast and ovarian cancers in women.

Genetic Predispositions: Genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 significantly contribute to higher cancer risks in women.

Lifestyle Factors:

Tobacco Use: Men traditionally have higher tobacco use, leading to elevated rates of oral and lung cancers. Alcohol

Consumption: Higher in men, contributing to various cancer types like liver and esophageal cancers.

Healthcare Access:

Screening and Early Detection: Women often have better access to cancer screening programs for breast and cervical cancers, which can lead to earlier detection and better survival rates.

Healthcare Utilization: Cultural and societal roles may lead women to seek medical help more promptly than men.

Sociocultural Influences:

Awareness Campaigns: Many campaigns focus on breast and cervical cancer awareness, possibly influencing higher detection rates in women.

Stigma and Support Systems: Men may face different societal pressures and stigma around seeking medical help, possibly delaying diagnosis and treatment.

Implications for Public Health Strategies For Women:

Enhanced Screening Programs: Continue to expand breast and cervical cancer screening programs.

Targeted Awareness Campaigns: Increase awareness for less common but significant cancers such as ovarian and colorectal cancers.

Support Systems: Strengthen support networks for women undergoing cancer treatment.

For Men:

Tobacco Control Programs: Intensify efforts to reduce tobacco usage.

Awareness and Education: Launch campaigns focused on the importance of early detection for cancers prevalent in men, like oral and lung cancer.

Gender-Sensitive Healthcare: Develop male-focused healthcare initiatives that address societal stigmas and promote prompt healthcare seeking behavior.

Conclusion: Are Women More Affected?

While women in India show a slightly higher incidence of cancer than men, the mortality rates are higher for men. This suggests that while women are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, men are more likely to die from it. Multiple factors come into play, including biological differences, lifestyle choices, healthcare access, and sociocultural influences. For the best cancer treatment in India, American Oncology Institute is recognized as the top multi-disciplinary oncology hospital known for its expertise and advanced care.