September 4, 2019
India has a rapidly growing population inflicted with cancer diagnosis. From an estimated incidence of 1.45 million cases in 2016, the cancer incidence is expected to reach 1.75 million cases in 2020. With the limitation of facilities for cancer treatment, the only effective way to tackle the rising and humongous cancer burden is focusing on preventable cancer cases. Approximately, 70% of the Indian cancers (40% tobacco related, 20% infection related and 10% others) are caused by potentially modifiable and preventable risk factors.
The common causes for cancer in India are oral cavity, lungs, esophagus and stomach in males and cervix, breast and oral cavity among females. Over 70% of the cases report for diagnostic and treatment services in advanced stages of the disease, resulting in poor survival and high mortality rates. The disease is associated with a lot of fear and stigma in the country.
According to Boston Consulting Group Study, 60-80% cancer cases in India are diagnosed late and 60% patients do not have access to quality treatment.
There are only 300+ cancer centers in India while as 600 more required to meet the demand.
About 400 radio therapy machines are available and 1200 more are required to cover the cancer population adequately.
Moreover, about 40% centers not equipped with all modern facilities. The group also estimated that India needs 500 PET-CTs and 1000 cancer units by year 2025. Doctor patient ratio is 1 in 2000 and currently aim is to achieve 1 in 1000 by 2021.
There is also disproportionate skillful manpower and technology in India with cancer specialists, trained staff and specialized cancer centers available in very few cities across India.
For most patients in India, there is no insurance cover and treatment costs are expensive. Thus, delivery of equitable, quality and affordable cancer care in India is a big challenge.