The diagnosis of cancer shocks every family.
Every year, lakhs of Indians are devastated by the news of cancer. On an average, more than 1,300 Indians succumb to the dreaded disease every day. With new cancer cases or its incidence in India estimated to grow by 25% by 2020 cancer has become one of the major causes of death occurring in the country. Women, especially, are being increasingly diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer will claim 9.6 million lives in the world this year and India’s share in it will be a worrying 8.17 per cent, warns the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer.
The cancer scenario in India:
Ignorance and denial leads to delayed diagnosis and treatment; most Indians change doctors when asked to go in for a screening or biopsy. Other than the fear of invasive treatment, disfigurement and financial burden, the ill-placed belief that a cancer patient will always die makes patients and their families refuse specialised treatment. The importance of awareness can be seen from the fact that in highly literate Kerala, 40% cases are detected early, a fact that ultimately leads to fewer deaths.
Oncologists suggest that if you notice any major changes in the way your body functions or feels, you should seek medical help. As early detection means better chances of cure.
- The symptoms in more than half of India’s cancer patients go undetected due to a shortage of adequate screening technology in rural or underdeveloped areas, or worse, a lack of awareness about the disease itself.
- According to a study conducted in 2015 there were only 2,700 mammograms, a breast cancer screening device, in India at the time.
- More surprisingly, there were only 120 PET-CT scanners, most of which were in Tier-1 cities.
- A study conducted in 2014 concluded that around 70% of India’s cancer cases lead to death due to lack of medical resources as well as the fact that most people don’t seek medical treatment until the late-stage symptoms start manifesting themselves.
Women and Cancer care:
- India accounts for the third highest number of cancer cases among women after china and US, growing annually at 4.5-5%. Cancer cases as well as mortality are increasing rapidly among Indian women, primarily because of low awareness and late detection.
- The report states that out of the 2000 new women diagnosed with cancer every day, 1200 are detected in late stages.
- This reduces five-year survival rate by 3 to 17 times for breast and cervical cancer. Late detection also adds to the cost of the treatment.
- Estimates show that cost for late-stage cancers is 1.5 to 2 times higher than the cost for early stage cancers.
- Another pressing issue among women in India is poor menstrual hygiene. Sadly only 12 per cent of women in India use sanitary pads leading to infections.
Cancer – post operative care:
Despite all medical advancements, detection of cancer still rings in a fear of death. But overcoming the phobia and undergoing a successful surgery of the cancerous tumour can be considered as half the battle won. Getting completely cured of Cancer is a long process spanning from two to five years after surgery. Post operative care and support is of utmost importance as the chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions are not just painful but financially and emotionally taxing as well. For most kinds of cancer, after surgery one needs to look into the aspects such as reconstruction of the operated area, nutritious diet, light exercise, physiotherapy, supportive treatment, regular follow-ups, counselling and so on.
Cancer Care in rural Maharashtra:
The new Reliance Cancer Care Centres, Akola and Gondia, managed and operated by Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital are now open and the rest will follow in a few years. We continuously endeavour to bring world class cancer care accessible to all Indians. Cancer is one of the biggest public health challenges of our times and we are ready to tackle it head on with our medical talent and world-class technology. Please find below link for more details on Reliance Cancer centre: