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January 27 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


Childhood cancers are emerging as a significant public health concern in India, with a considerable percentage of cancer patients falling under the age of 15.

A recent study published in the India Pediatric Journal sheds light on the prevalence, types, and challenges associated with pediatric cancers in the country.

Key Highlights of the Study:

  • The study is based on the largest dataset on childhood cancers in India from the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP), established by the Indian Council of Medical Research in 1981.
  • India reported 1,332,207 cancer cases between 2012 and 2019, with 3.2% and 4.6% in the age groups 0-14 years and 0-19 years, respectively.


Distribution of Cancers in Different Age Groups:

  • Childhood cancers are divided into two age groups: 0-14 and 0-19 years.
  • Leukaemias constitute a significant burden, comprising nearly half of all cancers in the 0-4 and 5-9 age groups (42.1% and 42.5%, respectively).
  • For the 0-19 year age group, leading cancers are leukaemia (36%), lymphoma (12%), bone (11%), and central nervous system tumour (10%).

Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas and Gender Differences:

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphomas show an increase with age, particularly in males associated with hormonal and biological changes.
  • Malignant bone tumours affect more girls due to earlier skeletal maturity.

Gender Disparities and Social Determinants:

  • A higher proportion of male children are diagnosed with cancer, attributed to male birth preferences and gender discrimination.
  • Sex disparity mirrors data reported in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) and is linked to low female literacy rates.

Challenges in CNS Tumor Registration in India:

  • CNS tumors in India may be treated in neurosurgical centers in multispecialty hospitals rather than dedicated cancer centers.
  • The NCRP currently only registers ‘malignant’ CNS tumors, defined as World Health Organization Grade 3 and 4.

Global Disparities in Cancer Types:

  • Proportion of leukaemias and bone cancers appears higher globally than in India.
  • International distribution of CNS tumors is greater than observed in India.
Cancer: A group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body.

Leukaemia: Cancers of the white blood cells beginning in the bone marrow.

Lymphomas: Cancers beginning in cells of the lymph system, including Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Bone Cancer: Occurs when unusual cells grow out of control in bones, often in children and young adults.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Tumours: Abnormal cell formation in the brain or spinal cord, which can be cancerous or benign.

India’s Initiatives Related to Cancer Treatment:

  • National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke
  • National Cancer Grid
  • National Cancer Awareness Day
  • HPV Vaccine


The study highlights the rising concern of childhood cancers in India, emphasizing the need for targeted interventions and awareness. Understanding the prevalence and types of paediatric cancers is crucial for developing effective strategies.

Mains Question:

  1. Discuss the key findings and implications of the recent study on childhood cancers in India. (150 WORDS)


January 27
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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