With the growing number of cancer cases in India, the medical department, including oncologists, is deeply concerned. According to the experts, the global market for immunotherapy is likely to be $75.8 billion by 2022, which was $16.9 billion by 2015. Apart from battling cancer, the patient has to deal with increasing cancer treatment costs and the type of treatment required such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, etc.
How much does cancer treatment cost in India?
Although the costs of cancer treatment in India have increased four times as compared to what it was in 2000, it is still preferred as the go-to destination for medical treatment worldwide as it costs 30-40% less than other western countries. For instance, if we take the case of lung cancer, the treatment costs have increased four times than it was back in 2000 including chemotherapy cost in India, immunotherapy, surgery, etc. However, due to the availability of cutting-edge technologies for treatment, well-qualified doctors and a team of dedicated nursing staff for comprehensive follow-up care, people prefer to come to India for their medical treatment.
Cancer Treatment: What is the importance of screening?
Cancer, if diagnosed early, can be treated effectively and costs less as well. Prevalent cancers such as lung, breast, cervix, etc. can be detected via routine screening which helps in further improvement for survival.
Patients usually approach medical help when cancer reaches the latest stage. There are several NABH and JCI accredited hospitals where screening is available to avoid further complications. It is advisable to get it done at the earliest so that the medical team can proceed with the treatment if the cancer is detected.
In India, 70% of cancer cases are detected in advanced stages due to low voluntary screening even among the literates.
How can cancer treatment be improved?
Despite the availability of cutting-edge treatments, people are still grappling with the high prices of cancer treatment. Today, there are nearly three million cancer patients in India.
India is a vast country where qualified healthcare providers or oncologists are available who are well-versed with the advanced, cutting-edge technology available for cancer treatment. So, where does the treatment lack? All we need it multimodal approach where all the specialties need to be on board for successful outcomes. People, in the West, are comparatively aware of the diagnosis, treatment, chemotherapy, cost, etc.
Awareness is the key which can save many lives. As the number of cancer cases is rising in India, tertiary care centers are also being developed along with the rising number of oncologists in urban India which is not valid for rural India. There are some parts in India where men are prioritized, but if a woman falls ill, then she becomes a financial burden on the family. This mentality has to be stopped else the survival rate of cancer patients would never improve.
If we compare the number of cancer patients domestic plus worldwide keeping in mind the fact that patients also come to India for their cancer treatment with the quantity of cancer care centers, then there is a high need to maintain equality between these two statistics. However, additions are happening, such as the National Cancer Institute is recently opened at Jhajjar, Haryana under the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Also, the government is planning to have a number of cancer hospitals.
The actual problem is late diagnosis. People go to the oncologists in the third or fourth stage which contributes to disease intensity, emotional or financial burden. Also, regional centers can treat only a limited population. Therefore, there is a need to have a considerable number of national care centers and increase awareness among people for voluntary screening.