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Rising Breast Cancer in Urban India

  • May 11, 2016

Every fifty seconds someone dies of cancer in India

Every day eight women die due to breast cancer in India

Breast cancer has become a troubling epidemic in India. The number of new cases is rapidly on the rise and the mortality rate is rising unchecked. Breast cancer is quickly becoming the leading cancer in women across all regions of India. India is yet to take concrete action to keep the rise in check. The government has poured its resources into tobacco and alcohol related cancers while breast cancer is largely forgotten.1,2

Between 1990 and 2013, the prevalence of breast cancer increased by 166%, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research organisation at the University of Washington, USA.

This study also pointed out that breast cancer is the third major cause of death after ovarian and lung cancer in women.

Another research named Globocan 2012 compared incidence and mortality rates of US, India and China that account for more than one third of Global breast cancer burden. In India, the overall incidence of breast cancer is less as compared to the US and China but it was found that deaths from breast cancer is much higher in India as compared to China and US, which means the breast cancer burden in India has almost reached about 2/3rds of that of the US and is steadily rising.3

“There is a clear rise in the awareness levels that promote women to take up cancer testing during the early ages itself”

A recent research indicated that women in urban areas are more prone to breast cancer. The research stated that “Living first 20 years of life in a rural area reduces the risk of breast cancer”. This implied that the lifestyle followed in rural areas is more protective against risk of developing breast cancer.4

While some research says that the incidences of breast cancer in urban women may double by 2025, there is a clear rise in the awareness levels that promote women to take up cancer testing during the early age itself. Along with the awareness on the risk, there is also a profound need to ensure breast cancer literacy among Indian women irrespective of their socio-economic and educational background.

Education and screening are perhaps the best way to fight rising breast cancer burden.

The content developed by Scientific Angle Publications LLP

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purpose only. Please consult a qualified doctor before taking any decisions regarding recommendations in the article or for more information.


1. Agarwal G, Ramakant P. Breast Cancer Care in India: The Current Scenario and the Challenges for the Future. Breast Care. 2008;3(1):21–27.

2. Breast Cancer India. (2015). Statistics of Breast Cancer in India. Retrieved from

3. Globocan 2012, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Data retrieved from

4. Nagrani RT, et al. Rural urban differences in breast cancer in India, Indian J Cancer. 2014;51(3):277–281.