While explaining how healthcare organisations have reinvented and adapted to the new normal to ensure that citizens get definitive cancer care during the COVID-19 crisis, Dr Hari Menon, senior consultant, haemato-oncology, Cytecare Cancer Hospitalcautions that demographic changes alone will cause cancer cases to double over next two decades in India and therefore suggests three top measures that can accelerate the countrys fight against cancer, in an interaction with Viveka Roychowdhury
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted access to cancer care in India?
The pandemic has altered every aspect of life worldwide. Understandably, the impact on access to cancer care in India was unavoidable especially during the initial lockdown. However, over the last couple of months, healthcare organisations have reinvented and adapted to the new normal to ensure that citizens get definitive cancer care during the crisis.
Its important to balance the benefits of cancer-related care with the risks related to COVID-19. At Cytecare, our primary concern has been to ensure that patients continue their treatment while alleviating their concerns about compromised immunity leading to infection. Here are a few measures that we took:
What is Indias burden of cancer cases and how is it projected to increase in the next five years?
According to the National Cancer Registry Programme Report, 2020, there are 1.39 million cancer cases in India currently. By 2025, the number is estimated to reach 1.57 million.
The report, released recently by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), finds that tobacco-related cancer contributes to 27.1 per cent of the total cancer burden about 370,000 cases in 2020.
It is expected that demographic changes alone will cause the number of cancer cases to double over the next two decades. Currently, non-communicable disease is the second leading cause of adult death in urban India and fourth leading mortality cause in rural India.
What are the most prevalent cancers in India and do we have an epidemiological study of cancers to prevent them or lessen incidence in the next generation?
The term cancer refers not just to one disease, but a collection of several diseases, with wide-ranging characteristics that usually call for varied treatments. In India, cancers of the lung, mouth, stomach, prostate cancer and oesophagus are the most prevalent among men, while breast and cervical cancer rank the highest in terms of prevalence among women.
The National Cancer Registry Programmes Report, 2020, notes that cancers of the gastrointestinal tract (in men and women) account for about 19 per cent of the countrys cancer burden. The report also states that the incidence of breast cancer is rising, while cervical cancer is declining.
Another insightful study published in The Lancet Oncology last year had stated that cervical cancer could be potentially eliminated as a public health problem in India within the next 60 years given the promise shown by the vaccination programme against human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical screening made more accessible.
Better and early diagnosis of cancer through screening and awareness campaigns has improved the chances of survival and quality of life. To what extent?
Early detection with specified treatment protocols is critical for better long term outcomes. Delay in diagnosis can lead to compromised outcomes to treatment. In fact, it also means giving more aggressive treatment inviting complications and impinging quality of life. A delay in detection will consecutively cause the cancer cells to spread in the adjacent areas of the affected region, thus increasing the morbidity. Also, in the absence of early detection and simultaneous treatment, the patients cancer-related disability increases, thereby dipping the chances of survival.
We have observed that early detection is particularly true for superficial cancers such as breast, head and neck and cervical cancers among others. We need to spread more awareness about the importance of screening programmes and invest in diagnostic facilities at local healthcare centers across the country.
Also, the five-year survival rate increases significantly when the cancer is detected at an early stage I or II, as compared to the more advanced stage III or IV tumours. Given the socio-economic inequalities in access to healthcare and the high out-of-pocket expenditure in India, these are important factors to consider.
It is a perceived notion that cancer afflicts the Indian population about a decade younger than their western counterparts. However, this may not be entirely true given that the older population are less inclined to come forward for treatment and may present at more advanced stage as compared to younger population. Therefore early diagnosis and treatment becomes all the more significant.
Are cancer care facilities, from screening, diagnosis, and treatment, accessible and affordable to all patients in India? Especially in rural areas? How successful have government schemes like Ayushman Bharat been while addressing these issues?
Theres no denying that India is grappling with inadequate infrastructure and poor access to healthcare. The country has merely 0.98 oncologists per million population.
It is also true that cancer treatments can be expensive most of the time because the treatment involves a comprehensive approach involving not only the management of the patient and his well-being but also supportive care management of disabilities that might be temporary or permanent and the need to get them back to main stream after a curative treatment has been implemented.
As the worlds largest fully government-financed health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat could be the game changer. Right now, there are about 150 oncology packages that cater to patients from economically disadvantaged sections of the society. Once Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) under Ayushman Bharat succeed in screening effectively for cancers, detection and timely treatment can become a reality for the 1.3 billion population.
There are three top measures that can accelerate Indias fight against cancer:
How has the National Cancer Grid worked to solve these issues? In terms of teleconsultation, reference network etc?
At a conceptual level, the National Cancer Grid represents a collaborative approach for addressing cancer at the national level. By bringing together institutions both in public and private sector under one roof, it can ensure uniformity in protocols and implementation of cancer care and treatment. The potential is immense and there is a lot of promise for this umbrella organisation to implement definitive therapy for cancer patients, while also addressing methods to improve cancer care in the future
What is the future of cancer care in India, at institutions like Cytecare Cancer Hospital? In terms of expansion and investment plans to reach more patients, cover more types of cancers, offer the latest treatment options in cancer care in India?
We know a lot more about this complex disease today than we did a decade or two ago, thanks to cutting-edge cancer research that is being conducted across the globe. Right from prevention and early detection to treatment of late-stage disease, there are several encouraging developments.
Diagnostic scans are getting more accurate and radiation treatments come with lesser side effects today. The development of immunohistochemistry (IHC), markers for various cancers, liquid biopsies and genetic tests have transformed the way we diagnose and tailor cancer treatments. Similarly, the development of newer drugs for targeted treatment and breakthroughs in stem cell research and gene therapy are paving the way for effective and personalised cancer care in the future.
At Cytecare, we are committed to building a more patient-centric cancer care system, with an organ-site approach. Our endeavour, since our inception in 2016, has been to get the finest multidisciplinary team of clinicians to work together with a holistic approach. Currently, we have a world-class team of 22 cancer specialists the largest such team in India that understands and evaluates each patients unique journey.
- Seattle researchers find clues for treatments that could eliminate HIV in infected patients - GeekWire - January 14th, 2021
- Flow Cytometry Market is Projected to Reach a Value of US$8100 Mn by the End of 2025 - KSU | The Sentinel Newspaper - January 14th, 2021
- Doctors diagnosed a Suffolk teen with a rare condition. Now, his mom is part of the solution - 13newsnow.com WVEC - January 12th, 2021
- Cassville club assists 2 families as they recover from illness - telegraphherald.com - January 12th, 2021
- The 26 billion-dollar startups to watch that are revolutionizing healthcare in 2021 - Business Insider - January 12th, 2021
- Global Precision Medicine Market 2020 Overview By Size, Share, Trends, Growth Factors and Leading Players With Detailed Analysis of Industry Structure... - January 12th, 2021
- More than 250 articles and a book later, the Valley Doctor bids adieu - San Lorenzo Valley Press-Banner - January 12th, 2021
- Groundbreaking Treatment for Severe COVID-19 Using Stem Cells It's Like Smart Bomb Technology in the Lung - SciTechDaily - January 5th, 2021
- New combo therapy offered against refractory T-cell lymphoma - Korea Biomedical Review - January 5th, 2021
- Hair Growth Treatment Secrets Bollywood Will Never Tell You About - Times of India - January 5th, 2021
- Are metabolic hormones the next frontier in cancer treatment? - MedCity News - January 5th, 2021
- Limerick toddler to wait six months for trial cancer treatment after family raises over 400,000 - Extra.ie - January 5th, 2021
- West Lothian mum fighting for her life after back pain turned out to be terminal blood cancer - Edinburgh Live - January 5th, 2021
- MorphoSys and Incyte Announce the Acceptance of the Swissmedic Marketing Authorization Application for Tafasitamab - Yahoo Finance UK - January 5th, 2021
- A Wish Come True urges plungers to dump a bucket of ice water on themselves for this year's fundraiser - Fall River Herald News - December 26th, 2020
- Ashley Cain says over 80,000 people registered for stem cell donation in 48 hours after appeal to save baby - The Sun - December 22nd, 2020
- The 11 most mind-blowing, awe-inspiring health discoveries and innovations of 2020 - Business Insider - Business Insider - December 22nd, 2020
- 3-year-old patient successfully treated for rare fatal disease- familial Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) at Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh -... - December 22nd, 2020
- Startups are racing to reproduce breast milk in the lab - MIT Technology Review - December 22nd, 2020
- Hand weakness: Causes, symptoms, treatment, and seeking help - Medical News Today - December 22nd, 2020
- Gujarat Issues Health Advisory On Fungal Infection With "50% Mortality Rate" - NDTV - December 22nd, 2020
- A side-by-side comparison of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines - STAT - December 22nd, 2020
- City of Hope Doctors Present Innovative Therapies to Better Treat Blood Cancers at American Society of Hematology Virtual Conference - Business Wire - December 9th, 2020
- Medical technologies that will disrupt (and improve) healthcare in the 2020s - Universe.byu.edu - December 9th, 2020
- Community Cord Blood Banking saves life of child with aplastic anaemia - The Hindu - November 20th, 2020
- Arya Lloyd: Father launches global search for blood stem cell donor to save his 12-year-old daughter - Sky News - November 20th, 2020
- Blood Cancer: Science Reveal Five Easily Missed Signs of Leukemia - Science Times - November 20th, 2020
- Karnataka:Community cord blood banking emerges as lifesaver - United News of India - November 18th, 2020
- How CAR-T Cell Therapy is Being Used in the Field of Blood Cancer Treatment - Curetoday.com - November 16th, 2020
- Election results for California Propositions 14, 18, 23, and 24 - FOX 11 Los Angeles - November 16th, 2020
- Cell Separation Beads Market to Witness Robust Expansion Throughout the Forecast Period 2018-2028 - The Daily Philadelphian - November 16th, 2020
- Fight for the rights of unborn - The Daily Telegram - November 11th, 2020
- Genetic Mechanism Identified in Neonatal Diabetes Could Offer Insights into Other Forms of the Disease - Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News - November 11th, 2020
- Doctors Debate: Is Intensive or Low-Intensity Chemotherapy Plus BCR-ABL TKI Therapy Best for Treatment of Ph+ ALL? - Targeted Oncology - November 11th, 2020
- Record number of stem cell donors apply after Ex On The Beach star plea - expressandstar.com - November 11th, 2020
- Bisbee: A commitment to health care initiatives The Journal Record - Journal Record - November 11th, 2020
- California election results: Where state propositions stand as of Thursday at 5 p.m. - Desert Sun - November 11th, 2020
- Critically ill Indonesian woman thanks Taiwan for saving life - Taiwan News - November 7th, 2020
- City of Hope Doctors Present New Research on Bone Marrow Transplants, Immunotherapy and Other Blood Cancer Treatments - Business Wire - November 7th, 2020
- Daily Edition for Wednesday, November 4, 2020 - California Healthline - November 7th, 2020
- 'We're truly blood brothers' - Stanford coach David Shaw and his recent fight to save his brother, Eric - ESPN - November 7th, 2020
- 'We're really blood brothers' - Stanford coach David Shaw and his current battle to save lots of his brother, Eric - The Shepherd of the Hills Gazette - November 7th, 2020
- Mark Drought: Are we on the brink of another civil war? - The Advocate - November 7th, 2020
- What to eat when you have the flu, recommended by doctors - Business Insider India - October 30th, 2020
- Fine-Tuning Treatments for COVID-19 - American Council on Science and Health - October 30th, 2020
- Aborted girl fetus kidneys made Trumps CoV meds. As SARS2 is unfettered in America, this needs thought - Feminine-Perspective Magazine (FPMag) - October 30th, 2020
- What to Know in Washington: Provisional Ballots May Play Role - Bloomberg Government - October 30th, 2020
- Unless the country invests in cancer care, the statistics for breast cancer will be bleak: Dr Anthony Pais, .. - ETHealthworld.com - October 23rd, 2020
- Autologous Fat Grafting Market Scope Analysis 2019 to 2029 - The Think Curiouser - October 23rd, 2020
- How Clinique La Prairie Is Keeping Humanity Fashionably Healthy In The Age Of Covid - Forbes - October 23rd, 2020
- The Anthony Nolan and NHS Stem Cell Registry - The Hippocratic Post - October 21st, 2020
- Jeff Bridges is one of the 85,000-plus lymphoma cases expected in the U.S. this year - MarketWatch - October 21st, 2020
- YOUR HEALTH: Saving an unborn baby breaking apart in the womb - WQAD.com - October 21st, 2020
- Orgenesis completes acquisition of Koligo Therapeutics and announces additional acquisition of Icellator(R) Technology from Tissue Genesis in related... - October 21st, 2020
- SA becomes 2nd country to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to donate bone marrow - News24 - October 21st, 2020
- Stem Cell Therapy Market to Witness Steady Expansion During 2025 KYT24 - KYT24 - October 21st, 2020
- Mohammed Hussain Alqahtani shares his insights about the evolution of plastic surgery - LA Progressive - October 21st, 2020
- Manya Saaraswat Makes Top 5 Finish in 2020 Miss World America Competition, Three Other Indian Americans in Top 10 - India West - October 21st, 2020
- Banking wisdom: Teen saving stem cells in hopes of future treatment - LubbockOnline.com - October 15th, 2020
- Mohammed Hussain Alqahtani Discusses the Future of Plastic Surgery - The Jerusalem Post - October 15th, 2020
- The story of how a biotech co. came to the aid of an ill 9-year-old boy - Stockhouse - October 15th, 2020
- Where Amy Coney Barrett Stands on IVF - Glamour - October 15th, 2020
- Regeneron, Trump, and the alleged hypocrisy of the pro-life movement - Christian Post - October 15th, 2020
- Life Sciences - a year to remember - Lexology - October 15th, 2020
- Proposition 14: With Handful of Cures, Calif. Stem Cell Agency Has Mixed Record. Will Voters Pony Up Another $5.5 Billion? - KQED - October 8th, 2020
- Woman who lost her partner to cancer last year set to run 10K in his memory - Warrington Guardian - October 8th, 2020
- Different Types of Childhood Cancer | INTEGRIS - Integris - October 3rd, 2020
- A perfect match: Bone marrow transplant saves twin brother's life. Now their family pays it forward - 11Alive.com WXIA - October 3rd, 2020
- Baby whose nosebleeds turned out to be deadly condition saved by stranger - Mirror Online - October 3rd, 2020
- Over 40 lakh people in Telangana have developed COVID-19 antibodies: Health Minister Eatala - The New Indian Express - October 3rd, 2020
- Coming of Age: New Research Efforts are Improving Treatment of Childhood Blood Cancers - Curetoday.com - September 23rd, 2020
- World Rose Day 2020: History and significance of the welfare of cancer patients - Hindustan Times - September 23rd, 2020
- Guide to Voting on Propositions and the City of San Bernardino's Measure S - Black Voice News - September 23rd, 2020
- Blood Cancer Awareness Month 2020 - Everyday Health - September 23rd, 2020
- CARLTON FLETCHER: McConnell is the poster boy for sleazy, partisan politics - The Albany Herald - September 23rd, 2020
- Faith for the fight: Neosho teen deals with rare combination of illnesses - Joplin Globe - September 21st, 2020
- RCSI partnership aims to advance predictive tests for common blood cancer - Siliconrepublic.com - September 21st, 2020
- Odessa woman hopes to gain back her sight after 6 years of being blind - NewsWest9.com - September 19th, 2020
- The Holistic Sanctuary Announces Exciting Plans to Expand Over Next 4 Years and Save More Lives - thepress.net - September 19th, 2020
- Highland family from Alness pleads for potential donors to come forward to help ill toddler - Inverness Courier - September 19th, 2020