Data from cancer registries suggest incidences of rising prostate cancer in rural areas

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Majority of the metastatic prostate cancer cases are coming from rural areas. Registry data clearly indicates rising cases of Prostate Cancer (PCa) among rural populace and experts are of the view that advanced treatment, drugs and technologies need to be made available to them. “There is an urgent need to create awareness about prostate cancer threat amongst the rural populace”, expressed Prof (Dr) Anup Kumar, Head of Department, Urology and Renal Transplant, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College (VMMC) and Safdarjung Hospital.

The Registry at Safdarjung Hospital, where registered cases of patients in OPD exceeds 1 lac every month, reveals that out of 1 lac, 20% are prostate cancer patients, 40% are clinically localized, 30% are locally advanced and 30% are metastatic prostate cancer. The Registry reveals that PCa incident is increasing in India. Earlier, 80% cases were metastatic and rests were only 20% and most of the metastatic CA prostate cases are from rural areas.

The data shows that almost all regions of India are equally affected by this cancer. The incidence rates of this cancer are constantly and rapidly increasing in all the Population Based Cancer Registries (PBRCs). The cancer projection data shows that the number of cases will become doubled by 2020. Delhi Cancer registry shows prostate cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer among men in Delhi accounting for about 6.78% of all malignancies.

Prof (Dr) P N Dogra, Head of Urology, AIIMS says, “This disease has become a major health problem globally during the last few decades. Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer death among men worldwide. No doubt, the proportion has changed in the metro cities but there is still a limited access to rural areas in India. Most of the metastatic CA prostate cases are from rural areas. Therefore, it’s a challenge to government and doctors to decrease the risk factors and take causation of prostate cancer in the rural areas very seriously.”

Prof (Dr) Anup Kumar expresses that “There is a need to upgrade more government hospitals and treatment, surgery available, drugs and the cost i.e. 3-4 lac should be reduced to affordable levels. With targeted prostate-specific antigen screening, better access to health care facilities and with advance technology like 3D laparoscopy and robotics, better cancer drugs, survival can be improved and quality of life is expected to be improved for the patients in rural areas. There is a high need to provide this access to rural population and to make them aware of this disease and treatment technologies.”

As September is being observed Prostate Cancer (PCa) Awareness Month globally, India has also scaled up efforts to make people especially rural populace aware about the killer disease which has become a major health problem during the last few decades. PCa is the second most common cause of cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer death among men worldwide. In view of rising cases of PCa especially in rural areas experts strongly recommend that advanced treatment, drugs and technologies need to be made available to rural populace too and there is an urgent need to crease create awareness amongst them to stop prostate cancer being a killer.

India needs to take up the challenge to overcome the rising burden of PCa both in urban as well rural areas. Hospitals, doctors, drug manufacturers and other stakeholders need to work together to curb the deadly disease spreading and killing Indian men. The government has already heard the bell and the Centre have made it mandatory to get the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) examination which highlights the seriousness towards the disease. And the same thing needs to reach the rural areas affected men’s suffering from this disease. Medical treatment for PCa requires a lot of money although screening and treatment at central government hospitals like RML, AIIMS and Safdarjung is free of cost. Access, Awareness and Affordability are the major challenges which need to be overcome urgently.

According to a study by International Agency for Research on Cancer, the worldwide PCa burden is expected to grow to 1.7 million new cases and 4,99, 000 new deaths by 2,030 simply due to the growth and geriatric population of the global population. Alarm bell is ringing and it is high time pay adequate attention as India has its own share of prostrate health problems and needs urgent action.

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