While deadly diseases like cancer are on the rise across the globe, the largest ever study of population-based survival trends cancer patients published in The Lancet journal paints a picture that may bring relief to some. The study conducted between 2000 and 2014 showed the survival for most cancers has been consistently high over the last 15 years. However, this trend has been recorded in just handful of countries. Countries like US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden are on the list of few countries where cancer survival is high. The study found out that cancer in parts of liver and lung remain lethal in high- and low-income countries. However, liver cancer survival increased by more than 10 per cent in Korea, a jump from a mere 11 per cent to 27 per cent. In Sweden, the numbers jumped from 5 per cent to 17 per cent, for Portugal and increase from 8 per cent to 19 per cent, and in Norway, the numbers rose from 6 per cent to 19 per cent.
Similarly, lung cancer survival increased by 5-10% in 21 countries including the UK (7% to 13%) between 1995 and 2014, with most progress seen in China (8% to 20%), Japan (23% to 33%), and Korea (10% to 25%).
However, for the first time India is also set to develop its own programme to keep a count on the cancer survivors. The programme will incur 28 registries in the country. While speaking to The Indian Express, Dr Prashant Mathur, the director of the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research said that the patients suffering from breast cancer, Cervical cancer, and cancer head and neck cancer at these 28 cancer registries will be followed up for a five-year period. “We will collect data from patients with the cancer registries since 2012. The National Centre for Disease Informatics and Reasearch also manages the National Cancer Registry Programme.
On Tuesday, the CONCORD-3 study was published online. The study analysed individual patient records from 322 cancer registries in 71 countries. The analysis was done for a period of over 5 years, from 2010 to 2014. The study found extreme variations in cancer survival like, for women with breast cancer in the US and Australia have survival of 90%, however, when compared to Indian women diagnosed with breast cancer the number dips to 66%. The survival from rectal cancer was very low in India: 29%.
The study pointed out that low survival has affected the development of a cancer strategy in several countries, including India.
Dr Claudia Allemani, the lead author of the study, from the Cancer Survival Group at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, explained the variation between , “Governments must recognise cancer registries as efficient public health instruments that produce a continuous stream of valuable information on both impact of cancer prevention strategies and the effectiveness of health systems, and at very low cost.”