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India's Health in Crisis: "Cancer Capital of the World" Sees NCDs Surge, Report Warns

A recent health report on India, released on World Health Day 2024, has unveiled a significant increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) across the country, with a particular emphasis on the alarming rise of cancer cases. The 4th edition of the Apollo Hospitals' Health of Nation Report paints a troubling picture of India's current health landscape, highlighting the nation's struggle with NCDs such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and mental health issues.

According to the report, approximately one in three Indians is pre-diabetic, two in three are pre-hypertensive, and one in 10 is suffering from depression. These figures underscore the critical need for more effective health interventions to address the growing burden of NCDs in the country.

The report also notes that India has experienced the fastest increase in cancer cases compared to global rates, earning the country the title of "cancer capital of the world." This alarming trend is particularly concerning given the lower median age for cancer diagnosis in India compared to other countries and the fact that cancer screening rates in the country remain very low.

The most common cancers in India, in order of occurrence among women, are breast, cervix, and ovary, while among men, they are lung, mouth, and prostate. These findings indicate a pressing need for increased awareness and early detection programs to combat the rising incidence of these diseases.

The report emphasizes the importance of regular health screenings in mitigating the risk of cardiac-related ailments by monitoring BP and BMI levels. It also highlights the potential increase in healthcare burdens due to conditions like pre-diabetes, pre-hypertension, and mental health disorders occurring at younger ages.

In light of these findings, the report calls for a unified approach from the healthcare ecosystem and the nation to combat the growing epidemic of NCDs. By investing in prevention, early detection, and effective treatment programs, India can work towards reversing the current trends and improving the overall health and well-being of its population.

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