The Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 for pancreatic cancer, published in The Lancet on Monday, found that this form of cancer, once rare, is now a growing cause of cancer mortality worldwide. From 1,96,000 incidences in 1990, these rose to 4,41,000 in 2017.
Significantly, the burden of pancreatic cancer is higher in higher income countries. In both 1990 and 2017, the highest age-standardised death rates due to cancer were recorded in Greenland and Uruguay, (17.4 and 12.1 per lakh person-years respectively in 2017). On the other hand, the lowest age-standardised death rates were in Bangladesh, at 1.9 per lakh person-years.
The reason for low death rates in low-income countries is shorter life-expectancy in low income countries and poor access to diagnostic facilities, the study said.
As lifespan increases, so does the risk of pancreatic cancer. Death rates increase throughout the lifespan, from less than five per lakh person-years in the fourth decade of life, to more than 60 per lakh at the start of the eighth decade.
For India, the death rate due to pancreatic has increased by over five times, from 6,887 in 1990 to 30,426 in 2017, while incidence has increased from 6,824 cases to 29,059.
The number of years lost due to ill-health in India were 1,826,77 in 1990 and 7,17,037 in 2017. In these two categories, India has the highest numbers among South Asian nations and makes up for more than 50 per cent of the cases.
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Pakistan comes next, with 848 deaths in 1990 and 2,653 in 2017. Incident cases in the country were 817 in 1990 and 2,593 in 2017. Bhutan had the least incidents and deaths in the region.
(Source: The Lancet)