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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Tumour: Facts, Stats, and Trends in India

A tumour is a growth of abnormal cells that develops when cells reproduce too quickly. Tumours can vary in size, depending on the type. A brain tumour is the most common tumour disease that is steadily rising in India. A brain tumour is a condition where a growth of abnormal cells start forming in the brain. It can either be cancerous or non-cancerous.

  1. Primary brain tumours start in the brain when the normal cells undergo genetic mutations.

  2. Secondary/metastatic brain tumours are tumours that result from cancer. This type of a tumour starts elsewhere in your body and then spreads to your brain.

The cases of brain tumours are increasing more and more each year in our country. A study conducted in 2018 has reported brain tumours to be the 10th most common kind of tumour among Indians.

Some Risk Factors That are Associated With Brain Tumours

  1. Genetic mutations are considered to be the proven risk factor for brain cancers.

  2. Studies have suggested certain occupations like farming which deals with pesticides spray, fire-fighting, metalworking, and people who are working in labs, rubber and petrochemical industries, pathologists and anatomists are at higher risk of getting CNS neoplasm.

  3. Numerous research studies have also suggested the role of radio-frequency radiations generated by mobile phones and microwave may also play a significant role in the aetiology of malignant gliomas

  4. Nitrates that are added to processed foods as preservatives also play a significant role in brain tumour aetiology. This is due to the N-nitroso compounds which are considered as potent neuro-carcinogens.

  5. The treatment of Brain tumour depends on the type/grade of cancer, age and general fitness.

  6. The average survival rate for all malignant brain tumour patients is only 36%.

Statistics of Brain Tumours

  1. The prevalence of brain cancers in India is found to be extremely rare. The data suggest that only two or three out of 1 lakh people are affected in India. This accounts for less than 2% of all malignancies diagnosed.

  2. The International Association of Cancer Registries (IARC) reported that each year around 24,000 people die due to brain tumours in India and more than 28,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year

  3. Astrocytomas – a primary type of brain tumour accounts for about 38.7% with the majority being high-grade gliomas (59.5%).

  4. Other most frequent tumours that affect Indians include benign meningiomas (11.4%), craniopharyngioma (9.7%), ependymal tumours (4.8%), and nerve sheath tumours (4.1%).

  5. The incidence of glioblastomas in the elderly population has seen an increase of 1-2% due to the introduction of high-resolution neuroimaging.

  6. Brain and central nervous system tumours account for about 26% of childhood cancers making it the second most common cancers in children.

  7. Around 2,500 Indian children suffer from a primary brain tumour called medulloblastoma, which spreads through the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and metastasize to various locations including brain and spinal cord.

Trends on Tumour

An appropriate radiological evaluation has helped diagnose patients with suspected CNS tumour in early stages. Recently there have been major advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and functional imaging techniques. These techniques have led to better anatomical precision and pathological characterization.

According to the National Cancer Control Program, tertiary care cancer centres are required to provide optimal cancer care to the patients. Due to the unavailability of radiotherapy machines and geographical inequality of resources, there are delays in treatment.  However, the recently instituted insurance program under Ayushman Bharat is expected to reduce the economic burden of cancer and other diseases by providing treatment facilities.

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