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The Rising Incidence of Colorectal Cancer In India

The Rising Incidence of Colorectal Cancer In India

Colorectal Cancer, encompassing both colon cancer and rectal cancer, has become a growing concern in India. With its increasing incidence and impact on public health, understanding the current statistics surrounding of this cancer in India is crucial for raising awareness, early detection, and implementing preventive measures. In this article, we explore the incidence of colorectal cancer in India, highlighting the key factors contributing to its rise and the importance of proactive measures to address this alarming trend. 

Incidence Rates

Colorectal Cancer ranks among the leading types of cancer in India, affecting both men and women. The incidence of this cancer has been steadily rising over the years, with a noticeable increase in recent decades. According to studies, in 2020, approximately 57,000 new cases of this type of cancer were reported in India, making it a significant public health issue.

Age And Gender Distribution

Colorectal cancer can occur at any age, but the risk increases with advancing age. It is more commonly diagnosed in individuals above the age of 50. However, there has been a concerning trend of an increasing number of cases among younger individuals in recent years.

In terms of gender distribution, this will affects both men and women almost equally. However, some studies indicate a slightly higher incidence rate among men. It is important to note that gender disparities may vary across different regions of the country.

Regional Variations

The incidence of Colorectal Cancer varies across different regions of India. Urban areas, characterized by changing lifestyles and dietary habits, report higher incidence rates compared to rural regions. This discrepancy can be attributed to factors such as sedentary lifestyles, dietary patterns rich in processed foods, low fiber intake, and increased exposure to environmental risk factors prevalent in urban settings.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors contribute to the development of colorectal cancer in India. These include:

  • Age: Advancing age is a significant risk factor, with the majority of cases occurring in individuals above 50 years.
  • Family History: Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or certain genetic conditions, such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), have a higher risk.
  • Unhealthy Lifestyle: Sedentary behavior, low physical activity levels, unhealthy dietary choices (low fiber, high fat and processed foods), obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption are associated with an increased risk.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Chronic conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Screening And Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer

Early detection plays a crucial role in improving outcomes for Colorectal Cancer patients. A routine stool exam is the best screening test. Presence of occult blood in the sample indicate risk of colorectal cancer and then a colonoscopy is advised. Regular screenings, such as colonoscopies, help identify precancerous polyps or early-stage cancer, enabling timely intervention and potentially preventing the progression of the disease. However, the uptake of screening programs in India remains low, primarily due to limited awareness and access to healthcare services.


The rising incidence of Colorectal Cancer in India is a cause for concern. It is imperative to address this public health challenge through collaborative efforts. Raising awareness about the risk factors, promoting healthy lifestyles, and encouraging regular screenings can help in early detection and timely treatment. Additionally, ensuring access to quality healthcare services and implementing targeted screening programs are essential steps toward reducing the burden of this cancer in India. By taking proactive measures, we can strive towards a future where this is detected early, treated effectively, and outcomes are improved for those affected by this disease. 

Also Read:

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Advancements in the Treatment of Rectal Cancer

Surgical Option for Right Colon Cancer – Right Hemicolectomy