Every year, about 1.1 million new cancer cases are registered in India. Cancer related deaths account to about 784,821 each year, according to cancerstatistics.org. In fact, India has some of the highest cancer rates across the world. According to the recently released National Cancer Registry Programme Report 2020, the number of cancer cases in the country are likely to increase even further.
The report released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR), Bengaluru has predicted that the number of cancer cases in the country will rise to 15.6 lakhs by 2025. This will be a 12% increase from the current estimated cases.
The report has marked the major cause behind the steep rise in number of cancer cases to be increasing tobacco consumption in the country. In fact, as per the report, tobacco-related cancers are estimated to contribute 27.1% of the total cancer burden.
The report by ICMR has also mentioned that among women, breast cancers are estimated to contribute 14.8% and cervical cancer (tumour of the cervix, the lowermost part of the uterus) are estimated to contribute 5.4%. For both men and women, cancers of the gastrointestinal tract are estimated to contribute 19.7% of the total cancer burden.
Cancer Incidence Rates in India
Cancer Incidence rate for the male population ranges from 269.4 (Aizawl, Mizoram) to 39.5 (Osmanabad and Beed, Maharashtra) per 1,00,000 people, as per the report. For the female population, it ranges from 219.8 (Papumpare, Arunachal Pradesh) to 49.4 (Osmanabad and Beed, Maharashtra) per 1,00,000 people.
Cancer Research in India
India has always been advanced in its medical research and development field. In order to further the cause, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), M/o Science and Technology and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India signed an MOU for supporting joint collaborative research programmes in the area of Cancer. The MOU shall help strengthen various initiatives specifically for cancer viz. Strategizing and prioritizing cancer research, development of new and affordable technologies, jointly design and fund clinical trials, coordinate and collaborate for translational research, interventions, training of manpower and infrastructure development.
As part of the research program, the clinicians shall work in coherence with researchers to identify and develop collaborative research programmes and public health initiatives for awareness of the public at large. Various activities like joint clinical fellowships, intensive workshops on clinical research methodologies and protocol development shall work towards creating a community of trained manpower and provide a platform to utilize their acquired skills in the best possible manner.
CSR in Healthcare Research in India
India Inc. spends a large chunk of its CSR funds in healthcare. In 2017, healthcare CSR spends accounted for about 24 per cent of total CSR spends that year. However, very small percentage of it was spent for research and development.
Research and development is very essential in the healthcare sector, especially in a country like India where there are so many talented doctors. Lack of funds in the sector leads to restraint in terms of research permissions. This leads to slow down of India’s healthcare evolution, and discourages the talented healthcare personals of the country who then resort to migration causing brain drain to the country. CSR therefore needs to focus on healthcare research and revive the India’s glorious healthcare sector.