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Over 7 crore in India likely to suffer from cancer by 2021: IIHMR

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on February 07, 2017

Healthcare research institute, the Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR University), revealed that the Indian population is among the most vulnerable to dreaded diseases such as cancer due to drastic changes in its lifestyle, as by the year 2021 over 7 crore (70 million) Indians are likely to suffer from one or the other type of cancer.

IIHMR noted that the surge in cancer patients will pose a major threat as the mortality rate among cancer patients in India is four to six times higher than that in the US. The baseline cost of treatment hovers around Rs 3-4 lakh, which is at times higher than the annual income of over 80-85 per cent households. The IIHMR University is a WHP Collaborating Center in Rajasthan.

Dr. C. Ramesh, Dean, School of Pharmaceutical Management, IIHMR University, Jaipur said, "Though there has been advancement in the cancer care programme and an improvement in technology, there is still lack of accessibility, affordability, awareness and late detection in case of cancer."

Quoting an EY report on Call for Action: Expanding Cancer Care in India, he said tobacco related cancers for males are estimated to go up to 225,241 and 3,563 for females in the year 2020. Breast cancer cases estimated in India till 2020 will be approximately 1.23 lakh.

During the World Cancer Week programme at IIHMR, Dr Aseem Samer, Oncologist, Mahaveer Cancer Hospital, highlighted the growing need of healthcare professionals in India to tackle future challenges arising from lifestyle diseases.

"India currently has a Doctor-to-Patient Ratio of about 1 in 2,000 and aims to achieve a figure of 1 in 1,000 for patients suffering from cancer. India will need about 450-550 dedicated Cancer Centres by 2020. Currently, India has over 1,250 oncologists and will need over 5,000 oncologists by 2020. This states that the total number of healthcare professionals needed, including oncologists, will be over 8,000 by 2020," informed Samer.

The healthcare experts also underlined the lack of awareness and inadequate infrastructure causing diseases such as cancer to get worse in the society.

According to the EY Report, lack of adequate infrastructure and absence of mass screening programmes are key barriers to timely and accurate diagnosis in India.

There are an estimated 2,700 mammograms installed in India, which represents less than 5 per cent of that in the US.

Only 30 per cent of the cancer centres in India have advanced imaging technologies such as PET-CT. PET-CT scanners are essential for accurate diagnosis, staging and response monitoring of cancer and are, therefore, critical to providing comprehensive cancer care.

India has only 200-250 comprehensive cancer care centres (0.2 per million population in India vs 4.4 per million population in US), the report noted.

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Published on February 07, 2017
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