Male-female cancer ratio reversed in the past 30 years in the State

The incidence of cancer among women has risen and the male to female ratio of cancer patients in the State has reversed in the last 30 years. Even the average age of women at diagnosis of cancer is five years less than that of males.

The data, from the consolidated report of 30 years from the Hospital-based cancer registry of the Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, was presented at the 28{+t}{+h}annual review meeting of the National Cancer Registry Programme of ICMR here on Thursday.

If the male to female ratio in 1997 was 1.14, in 2011, this had become 1.00, Aleyamma Mathew, Additional Professor and head of the Cancer Registry, who presented the 30-year registry data, said.

The data is based on the number of cases reported in the RCC alone, which handles about one-third of the cancer cases in the State.

In the 0 to 14 year age group, the number of female patients went up by 11 per cent over the past 30 years; in the 15-34 year group, the number went up by 14 per cent, while the number of male patients in this age group decreased by 7.5 per cent.

Thyroid cancer

The increase in thyroid cancer among women, with an increase of 195 per cent in the 15 to 34 year group and a 289 per cent increase in the 35 to 64 year age group over the past 30 years is something that needs detailed investigation.

If in 1982, cervical cancer accounted for 28.8 per cent of cancers in women, by 2011, it had declined to 8.2 per cent. However, breast cancer rates went up by 2011, accounting for 28.1 per cent of the cancers in women, becoming the leading site of cancer.

Dr. Mathew pointed out that the hospital-based cancer registry at RCC had recorded an increase in the number of cancer cases since 1982 and that the number in 2011 was 242 times more than in 1982.

A total of 2,18,059 invasive cancer patients had registered in the RCC in the last 30 years.

What was significant was that nearly 50 per cent of these cases were registered in the past 10 years, she said.

Lung and haematological cancers were on the rise among both male and female. In 1982, if 70 per cent of the cancer cases in men were tobacco-related, the figure had declined to 23 per cent in 2011. The proportional decline of tobacco-related cancers together was 39 per cent in both genders.

Falling trend

Dr. Mathew said while all tobacco-related cancers were declining, specific studies were needed to find out why lung cancer rates alone was going up.

Oncologists, epidemiologists and statisticians from major cancer treatment centres and RCCs across the country are taking part in the two-day deliberations.

  • Thyroid cancer up by 237 per cent among women

  • Tobacco-related cancers declining, except lung cancer