Median age for cancer diagnosis lower in India, says study

The report on Non-Communicable Diseases by Apollo Hospitals also found that one in three people screened had pre-diabetes, one person in four had diabetes, one in 10 had uncontrolled diabetes

April 05, 2024 02:04 am | Updated 02:04 am IST - CHENNAI

The hospital found that colon cancer cases were increasing among younger people.

The hospital found that colon cancer cases were increasing among younger people.

The median age for cancer diagnosis in India is lower when compared to the U.S., U.K., and China, said a report released by Apollo Hospitals. According to the hospital’s data, the average age of diagnosis of breast cancer in India is 52 against 63 in the U.S. and UK, while for lung cancer it is 59 years as opposed to around 70 in the West.

The fourth edition of Apollo Hospitals’s “Health of the Nation” report, which looks at trends in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) based on the hospital’s data, has highlighted the huge burden of cancers among the country’s younger population and risk posed by low cancer screening rates.

“What is striking in our database is the median age at which people are diagnosed with cancer; cancer affects a much younger population. It is 52 years for breast cancer, 54 years for cervical cancer and 59 years for lung cancer,” Madhu Sasidhar, president and chief executive officer, Apollo Hospitals, said.

Looking at their data, the hospital found that colon cancer cases were increasing among younger people, with 30% of colon cancer patients at Apollo Hospitals aged less than 50 years.

But the country falls behind in cancer screenings. “Most nations have strong guidelines for screening,” he said, adding that while the screening rate for breast cancer stood at 74%-82% in the U.S., a mere 1.9% are screened in India.

Raising the issue of Western data being extrapolated in India, he explained how an analysis found the threshold for Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) - a blood test - in Indian men was different from the current standards, suggesting the need for local data.

The report also elaborated on mental health, metabolic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. It found that three in four people undergoing health checks at Apollo were either obese or overweight, with obesity incidence registering an increase from 9% in 2016 to 20% in 2023.

Apollo has also found that one in three people have pre-diabetes, raising the need for proper diet, exercise and weight loss. While one person in four had diabetes, one in 10 had uncontrolled diabetes.

He observed that sleep disorders had gone under the radar, and excessive day-time sleepiness suggested a lack of sleep at night that could lower performance in school or workplace. Among 5,000 persons who were screened for quality of sleep, one in four were at high risk for obstructive sleep apnoea.

In a video message, Prathap C. Reddy, chairman, Apollo Hospitals, said NCDs contributed to 70% of deaths today. Preetha Reddy, vice-chairperson, observed that a master health check is one step in the right direction and raised the need for women to take care of their health.

Sathya Sriram, CEO, Preventive Healthcare, Apollo Hospitals, said as part of observing World Health Day, they had launched “ProHealth Score”. According to a press release, this was a digital health risk assessment tool for assessing an individual’s health and well-being, and evaluates factors such as family history, lifestyle and current symptoms.

Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals, also spoke at the event.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.