Delhi had the highest incidence rates for all types of childhood cancers in both boys and girls of up to 14 years old in the country, at 235.3 and 152.3, respectively, according to data from the latest report of the National Cancer Registry for 2012-14.
Among boys, the proportion of cancers in childhood relative to cancers of all ages varied from 0.7 per cent in Nagaland to 5.4 per cent in Delhi. In girls, it ranged from 0.5 per cent in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya to 3.5 per cent in Naharlagun, excluding Papumpare district, of Arunachal Pradesh.
The report shows Delhi boys had 551 reported cancers, which was 5.4 per cent of the total reported cancers, while girls with 309 cases had 3.2 per cent of the total cancer cases. The total childhood cancers in Delhi was 4.4 per cent of the reported cancer cases, again the highest in the country.
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This is the first time the cancer registry in India has looked at childhood cancers in depth in its report, which was released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Wednesday. Globally, cancer incidence rate is generally expressed as age adjusted using a standardisation per 100,000 population to remove local biases between states and nations with different population profiles with respect to age groups, notes the ICMR report.
Among common childhood cancers, in leukemia cases, Delhi had the highest Age Adjusted Incidence Rates (AARpm) in the country — among boys at 101.4, with 237 cases; and in girls at 127 with 62.3 cases. Chennai trails Delhi. Among girls, Chennai is at fifth position. Mumbai is at sixth position among boys, and ninth among girls. After Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram has the second highest cases of lymphomas among girls.
While Northeast states top the combined adult and pediatric rate of cancer incidence, in childhood cancers, for both boys and girls, Nagaland and East Khasi hills district bring up the rear .
Dr P K Jhulka, former professor of oncology at AIIMS who was in charge of Delhi cancer registry from 2012-14, said, “These trends can largely be attributed to more number of institutions treating childhood cancers in Delhi… patients from across the country come for treatment to Delhi.” He said this was probably why there are variations in the trends between adult and childhood cancer incidence in the country.