Cancer: India Fights Back

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Cancer is defined as an unwanted multiplication and growth of abnormal cells, not limited to a single body part.

Today cancer has become a global threat for human beings. As per Indian population census, around 0.3 million people in India die every year due to cancer. India consists of 1/10th of the world’s smokers and second largest in terms of tobacco consumption.

In 2010, it was reported that around 600000 deaths in India are caused due to passive smoking.

The cause of this can be either internal or external:

Internal causes include genes, hormones or poor immunity. On the other hand, it can also be due to environmental factors as well, which includes social, population growth, eating habits, etc.

It is not possible to prevent the internal causes but external causes can be controlled.

There have been many such instances in recent years about how people in India have overcome this deadly disease, controlling the external causes by prevention or proper treatment facilities in some of the best cancer hospitals in India providing world class treatments for all types of cancer.

There are many top cancer hospitals in India spread across many metro cities such as Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, etc. Mumbai is especially known to provide excellent infrastructure and top class surgeons for cancer treatment. For instance, Fortis hospital in Mumbai is among one of the top cancer hospitals in Mumbai providing all kinds of cancer treatment procedures such as radiology, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, etc. These are extremely painful and require a lot of physical as well as mental strength.

The treatment depends on the types of cancer occurrence and the stage of cancer, sometimes it may require a combination of treatments to cure it completely.

The table below shows ranks of common types of cancer occurrences in India gender-wise for the year 1994.

Common cancer occurrences among men in India city-wise:

RankBangaloreBhopalChennaiDelhiMumbaiBarshi
1Stomach

10.9

Lung

14.5

Stomach

15.4

Lung

13.2

Lung

14.3

Hypopharynx

6.1

2Oesophagus

9.4

Tongue

10.6

Lung

10.9

Larynx

9.7

Oesophagus

11.0

Oesophagus

4.9

3Lung

9.2

Hypopharynx

8.5

Oesophagus

9.2

Prostate

7.1

Larynx

8.5

Penis

3.4

Common cancer occurrences among women in India city-wise:

RankBangaloreBhopalChennaiDelhiMumbaiBarshi
1Cervix

30.8

Cervix

24.9

Cervix

41.9

Breast

29.0

Breast

21.4

Cervix

27.7

2Breast

21.4

Breast

22.2

Breast

22.4

Cervix

29.0

Cervix

19.5

Breast

8.0

3Mouth

9.9

Ovary

6.1

Mouth

8.0

Gall Bladder

8.4

Oesophagus

8.2

Oesophagus

2.1

cancer geography

Cancer treatment-India vs abroad

It is a myth that only countries like US and UK can provide high quality treatment. In the recent years there has been a remarkable improvement in health quality services in India, making it one of the most preferred destination for patients all across the globe available at low cost.

  • Cost factor

cancer cost

A chemotherapy that costs $70000 in the US, costs round about $2500 in India. The reason for it is quite obvious, Gleevec which is a common leukaemia drug is under patent in the US but in India.

Moreover, a simple enquiry about the cancer treatment is around $10000 in the US, whereas in India it is comparatively much cheaper and affordable. The below image depicts the differences in per capita health spending of China, US and India as against the population per capita.

  • Treatment at par with that of developed nations

India is well known for expert oncologists and high quality surgery techniques which give immense competition to some of the best hospitals around the world. There are many reputed cancer surgeons are found in India like Apollo Hospital, Fortis Hospital, Tata Memorial Hospital among others which are as good as some of the best in the business.

  • Ratio of doctors to patients

India is slightly behind in this department over foreign nations, due to high population and limited number of doctors and hospitals. Moreover, many highly qualified surgeons move out of India in search of better career opportunities causing a dearth of the same here at home.

  • Alternative treatments

Many a time’s people from poor or middle class families are unable to afford the high costs that go in hospitals and surgeries at private hospitals in India. Moreover, the ever increasing waiting list in the government hospitals also play their part and add to the frustration. This makes way for various alternative treatments such as Ayurveda and other natural ways. There are many doctors and centres who specially focus on such treatments making it much more cost effective.

  • Infrastructure in India to fight cancer

Indian hospitals in recent years offer world-class infrastructure. In fact, around 33% of cancer cases in India can be prevented at a very early stage by good cleanliness, early detection and awareness. Moreover, government has also taken various steps in order to control the usage of tobacco. But with such a huge population, a combined effort from the government and corporate sector is required.

Conclusion

Currently, there has been a massive change in cancer trends as far as the scenario in India is concerned. There has been vast improvement in the treatment methods due to allied specialities, palliative care, teamwork and evidence based medicine. Moreover, there are various NGOs and support groups which helps to create awareness and disseminate information.

Also, various socio-political measures such as anti-smoking laws and ban on tobacco goes a long way in preventing cancer, as we know that prevention is better than care.

All in all, we can conclude that India is not at all behind any country for cancer treatment in terms of technology, and in fact provides equally good treatment at affordable costs. India has a powerful medical and pharmaceutical sector attracting patients all over the world.

Cancer is not the end of the story, it is the start of another challenge which comes along with life.

References;

  1. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/10-of-tobacco-related-deaths-caused-by-passive-smoking/articleshow/20108787.cms
  2. http://cancerindia.org.in/cp/index.php/know-about-cancer/statistics
  3. https://www.slideshare.net/drsujit/incidence-and-trends-in-cancer-in-india?qid=04f97c1e-3b30-4a36-b890-39406c9c2aff&v=&b=&from_search=1
  4. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/Cancer-treatment-India-vs-abroad/articleshow/12581132.cms

Author Bio:

Murtaza Arenpurwala
Murtaza Arenpurwala

Health Research Scholar and Medical Blogger. I keep on writing health related topics and publish it. 

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