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India is Facing a Cancer Crisis

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Published on : Apr 15, 2014

India is currently facing a cancer crisis – reports a recent research carried out at the King’s college London, in collaboration with the Tata Memorial Cancer Centre, Mumbai. 

The reasons estimated for this crisis comprise of increasing rates of smoking, unequal access to proper treatment and belated diagnosis. 

Every year, India witnesses around one million new cases of cancer and around 600,000 to 700,000 die from the disease. This death toll is estimated to increase twofold each year by the year 2035 – the report says. 

India lags in affordable and comprehensive cancer treatment options behind many parts of the world. To make such treatments easily available to the commoners will require the addressal of the underlying causes and development of affordable treatment options that the masses can easily pay for.   

Death rates in India due to cancer are almost equal to those in high-income countries although the cases of cancer arising in India are almost a quarter of those occurring in these high-income countries every year. 

In India, less than a third part of total cancer patients survive for more than five years after they are diagnosed of this disease. Near to 95% of medical colleges in the country do not have cancer treatment facilities in the same campus and there are only nearly 2000 licensed oncologists in the country that counts to one such oncologist per 5000 cancer patients being newly diagnosed every year. 

This is also again the case in developed regions of the country – rural areas do not even possess the most basic cancer treating facilities. 

This results in most cancer treatment facilities in either being overcrowded or short of resources leading to delayed diagnosis, long waiting times and treatment of most patients at a later stage of the disease.

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