A worrying rise in cancer rates among South Asian people in the UK is revealed in a paper published in the British Journal of Cancer (July 2013). Results of the study showed a jump in the number of cases of cancer in South Asians over a decade. The men’s rate increased by 28 per cent, this compares to an overall drop in the rates in non-South Asians.
This increase in cancer risk is set to continue, as it is the younger generation of South Asians experiencing the most marked rise in number of cancer cases. Historically the UK’s South Asian population has had fewer cases of cancer than the general population. This study shows that South Asian rates are quickly catching up to those seen in the rest of the UK.
This lifestyle change is most likely due to younger South Asians growing up with and adopting, western lifestyles – for example less fresh vegetables and more high fat processed foods. The increase in levels of lung and prostate cancer in men, these have traditionally been much lower than the UK national average.
Dr Lesley Walker, Director of Cancer Information for Cancer Research UK, owners of the British Journal of Cancer, says: ‘All communities need to have suitable access to cancer services. As cancer emerges as an important health issue for South Asians it is important that they have access to information about cancer, including methods of prevention through lifestyle and diet, and how to spot symptoms early.”