The Most Common Cancers in Men and Women in India: A Comprehensive Analysis

Cancer is an unremitting enemy, always challenging the healthcare sector worldwide. It significantly affects both men and women in India. So, it is important to understand the most common type of cancer prevalent among men and women and create effective prevention, screening, and treatment strategies. This article focuses on the prevalence scenario of cancer in India. Also, it gives readers sound knowledge about the common type of cancer (both men and women), challenges, risk factors, and prevention.

Cancer in India: An Overview

India is one of the largest population countries with a complex landscape of cancer prevalence. Some factors like lifestyle changes, genetic factors, and environmental elements play a major role in the prevalence of cancer in India. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), cancer cases are steadily increasing in India, which urges us to have a deeper understanding of the disease’s patterns.

Most Common Cancers in Men

  • Oral Cancer: Oral cancer is the most prevalent cancer in Indian men, mainly affecting the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat. Using tobacco and betel quid, often in smokeless forms, significantly increases the risk of oral cancer.
  • Lung Cancer: Lung cancer is the most affecting cancer of Indian men, caused by smoking habits, environmental pollutants, and occupational hazards.
  • Stomach Cancer: Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is another concern for Indian men. It is caused mainly by dietary factors, especially the consumption of preserved and processed foods, which leads to stomach cancer.

Most Common Cancers in Women

  • Breast Cancer: Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in India. Genetic factors, hormonal imbalances, and lifestyle choices play a major role in the development of breast cancer. Early detection through regular screenings can significantly improve survival rates.
  • Cervical Cancer: Cervical cancer is mainly caused by a special virus, human papillomavirus (HPV). The prevalence of cervical cancer in women is due to the lack of awareness and limited access to preventive measures, such as HPV vaccination and regular Pap smears. According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women with an estimated 604 000 new cases in 2020.
  • Ovarian Cancer: Even though ovarian cancer is less common than breast and cervical cancers, it significantly affects women’s health. Genetic predisposition and hormonal factors are the major causes of ovarian cancer.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Understanding the risk of this commonly affecting cancer is essential to prevent it. Tobacco and alcohol consumption are major causes of oral and lung cancer in men. On the other hand, women can reduce their risk of breast and cervical cancers through lifestyle changes and regular screening measures.

  • Tobacco Control: Implementing strict tobacco control measures, awareness campaigns and taxation, can significantly reduce men’s risk of oral and lung cancers.
  • Screening Programs: Breast and cervical cancer can be reduced by regular screening measures in women, such as early-stage detection, enabling timely intervention and improved outcomes.
  • Vaccination: cervical cancer can be prevented by HPV vaccination in young girls. Increasing awareness and access to vaccination can substantially reduce the burden of this disease.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: A healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and limited alcohol consumption, can help to reduce the risk of various cancers in both men and women.

Challenges in Cancer Care

While progress has been made in cancer research and healthcare infrastructure, several challenges persist in India’s fight against cancer. Limited awareness, lack of early detection facilities in rural areas, and economic constraints often delay diagnosis and treatment, leading to poor outcomes.

  • Awareness and education: Increasing awareness about cancer symptoms, risk factors, and preventive measures is paramount. Education campaigns targeting schools, communities, and healthcare professionals can bridge the knowledge gap.
  • Infrastructure and access: Improving healthcare infrastructure is essential, especially in rural and underserved areas. This includes establishing cancer screening centers, enhancing diagnostic facilities, and ensuring affordable treatment options.
  • Psychosocial support: Cancer diagnosis not only affects physical health but also takes a toll on mental and emotional well-being. Providing psychosocial support services can help patients and their families cope with the challenges of cancer.

Cancer Treatment

The treatment of cancer depends on the type and stage of cancer and the medical history of the patient. It’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals to determine the most suitable treatment plan.

  • Surgery: It involves the surgical removal of tumors or cancerous cells by an operation carried over by a surgical oncologist (specializes in cancer surgery)
  • Chemotherapy: It is used to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells using strong drugs or medicines.
  • Targeted therapy: It is a type of cancer treatment, which uses drugs or other substances to precisely identify and treat certain types of cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy: It is a treatment used to slow down or stop the growth of breast and prostate cancers using hormones which interfere with the cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy: In this method, the immune system is boosted to fight against cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiotherapy involves high-energy rays that are used to target and  destroy cancer cells.

Anti-Cancer Medicines:

Some of the cancer medicines used to treat different types of cancer are ramiven 150mg tablet (breast cancer), bevnexxa 100mg injection (cervical, lung, breast cancer), and erbitux 500mg injection (oral cancer), hervycta Plus 150mg injection (breast cancer and gastric cancer).


The battle against cancer in India requires a multifaceted strategy that includes government initiatives, the involvement of healthcare professionals, NGOs, and the cooperation of the people. India can significantly reduce the cancer burden by early detection, adopting prevention measures, and improving access to quality healthcare. With concerted efforts and a collective commitment, it is possible to enhance the quality of life for millions of men and women affected by this deadly disease.