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Lancet Report on Cancer in Women 2023


A recent report from the Lancet Commission on gender disparities in cancer care quantifies what has been known anecdotally, providing stark statistics.


GS2- Health

Mains Question:

Drawing from the findings of the recently released Lancet report on cancer in women, analyse the steps taken in this regard. Also suggest what should be done to effectively deal with cancer among women. (15 marks, 250 words).

Findings of the report- Global statistics:

  • Although women bear a similar cancer burden as men, accounting for 48 percent of new cases and 44 percent of global cancer-related deaths, the impact on women is disproportionately higher.
  • The commission’s report, titled “Women, Power and Cancer,” scrutinizes power imbalances in cancer-related decision-making, knowledge dissemination, and economic factors across 185 countries.
  • The results are disheartening: cancer ranks among the top three causes of premature female deaths globally, and women face challenges in accessing necessary care due to limited knowledge and decision-making authority.
  • The report highlights the insufficient research on the causes of breast cancer and the underexplored occupational and environmental hazards contributing to women’s cancer.
  • Beyond these challenges, the under-representation of women in leadership roles within the oncology workforce further complicates the understanding of women-centric cancers like breast cancer.
  • Additionally, they are more susceptible to financial hardship due to cancer-related expenses.

Findings of the Report- India-specific:

  • In India, the report reveals that nearly two-thirds of female cancer deaths are preventable, and 37 percent are treatable if timely diagnosis and optimal care were available.
  • This underscores the impact of gender dynamics on health, especially in societies where women are predominantly defined by their reproductive roles.
  • Structural disparities, such as limited autonomy, education, employment, and healthcare access, contribute to women, particularly from marginalized communities, neglecting essential tests and screenings for early cancer detection and treatment.


Addressing this systematic disadvantage requires prioritizing measures to bridge knowledge gaps, including the collection and updating of sociodemographic data in cancer health. Furthermore, increased research on risks impacting women, heightened sensitivity, and responsiveness to challenges at the intersections of power, status, and identity are crucial. Stakeholders, ranging from institutions and policymakers to decision-makers and awareness advocates, play a pivotal role in improving the treatment and care of affected women

December 2023