Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet About Cancer

  • There are more than 100 types of cancers, almost any part of the body can be affected.
  • The five most frequent cancers (ranking defined by total number of cases) in India in men and women are breast, cervical, oral cavity, lung and colorectal.
  • Cancer is the second most common cause of death in India (after cardiovascular disease).
  • Use of tobacco products (e.g. smoking cigarettes) are the single most preventable cause of death worldwide.
  • More women in India die from cervical cancer than in any other country.
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in India and accounts for about a quarter of all cancers in women in Indian cities.
  • The average age for breast cancer in India is almost a decade lower than that in the west.
  • Cancers of major public health relevance such as breast, oral, cervical, gastric, lung and colorectal cancer can be cured if detected early and treated adequately.

In India, the crude cancer incidence rate is highest in Kerala and Mizoram, followed by Haryana, Delhi, Karnataka, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Assam.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020.

The most common in 2020 (in terms of new cases of cancer) were:

  • Breast (2.26 million cases);
  • Lung (2.21 million cases);
  • Colon and rectum (1.93 million cases);
  • Prostate (1.41 million cases);
  • Skin (non-melanoma) (1.20 million cases); and
  • Stomach (1.09 million cases).

The most common causes of cancer death in 2020 were:

  • Lung (1.80 million deaths);
  • Colon and rectum (935 000 deaths);
  • Liver (830 000 deaths);
  • Stomach (769 000 deaths); and
  • Breast (685 000 deaths).