The incidence of cancer in India was recorded much later than it came up in the West. This should ideally offer us a better position to handle the disease in a superior manner. However, that seems to be untrue. The cancer burden haunts our country, however, the current state that it is in is quite different when compared to the burden in the West.
Here are some facts, which show the fundamental difference between the cancer in India and in the west.
- 70% of Indian cancers happen occur between 30-69 years of age. Whereas 50% of cancers in the west occur after the age of 70.
- 80% of cancers in India are detected late. The average cancer detection stage in India is Stage 3. In the west, the average cancer detection stage is Stage 2, which makes treatment relatively easier.
- Though we have the latest treatment options and qualified oncologists, there is a severe lack of access to treatment for everyone. We only have about 210 cancer hospitals, with 60% of them located in 6 metros.
- While cancer related mortality is steadily dropping in the west, mortality rates are significantly increasing in India. Currently, 70% of cancer deaths happen in the developing world, with India contributing to one-fifth of the statistic.
- There is far less awareness and commitment to treatment in India. We see a treatment abandonment rate of 70% in government hospitals, which treat 85% of patients.
- Lack of affordability is also a significant factor in cancer treatment in India. While government hospitals offer latest treatment, there are not enough beds & medical professionals to help all the patients. Majority of the population is uninsured and hence, might not be in a position to access treatment in private facilities.