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Cancer Care Infrastructure

  • 13 Nov 2019
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, and Environment submitted its report to the Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu. The committee was constituted to examine an expanded role of the Department of Atomic Energy to address India’s rising cancer burden.

Key Highlights

  • Infrastructure: According to the report, India’s cancer care infrastructure is highly inadequate which forces a majority of patients to travel thousands of kilometres for treatment.
  • Mortality to Incidence Ratio: The inadequate infrastructure fails to address the needs of patients and contributes to a 20% higher mortality among Indian cancer patients than those in countries with a high Human Development Index (HDI).
    • In India, the rate stands at 0.68 which is higher than that in countries with very high HDI (at 0.38) and high HDI countries (0.57).
  • Incidence Rate in India: The number of newly diagnosed cases of cancer annually is about 16 lakh. Around 8 lakh people die annually due to cancer.
    • Prevalence among women:
      • Breast cancer- 140,000 cases,
      • Cervical cancer- 100,000 cases, and
      • Oral cancer- 45,000 cases.
    • Among men, the top three cancers with the highest incidence are those in:
      • Oral cavity- 1,38,000 cases,
      • Cancer of the pharynx- 90,000 cases, and
      • The gastrointestinal tract- 2,00,000 cases.
    • The incidence of cancer is very high in all North Eastern States (higher than the national average) for several types of cancer, showing a consistently rising trend over the past few decades.
    • The International Agency for Research on Cancer expects cancer deaths in India to rise from 8.8 lakh in 2018 to 13 lakh in 2035.
  • The report highlights the significance of India’s National Cancer Grid which is the prominent centre for cancer treatment in the country. It treats over 7,00,000 new cancer cases.

National Cancer Grid

  • National Cancer Grid (NCG) is a network of major cancer centers, research institutes, patient groups and charitable institutions across India with the mandate of establishing uniform standards of patient care for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, providing specialized training and education in oncology and facilitating collaborative basic, translational and clinical research in cancer.
  • It was formed in August 2012.

International Agency for Research on Cancer

  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was created in 1965 by a resolution of the World Health Assembly, as the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization.
  • The objective of the IARC is to promote international collaboration in cancer research.
  • It comprises of 27 member countries. India is a member of it.
  • Headquarters: Lyon, France.
  • Recommendations:
    • Hub and Spoke Model: The committee recommended this model to enhance the accessibility and reach out to cancer patients nationally.
      • It has a network of centres (or hubs)- capable of treating complex forms of cancer. They would be connected to other centres (spokes) capable of treating less complex variants of cancers.
      • The underlying idea is to ease access and minimize travel time for patients- as one hub would cover about 4 crore patients and a spoke 50 lakh-1 crore patients annually.
      • The model is already in practice in Punjab.

Source: TH

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