As the month of February draws in, an important day has been marked down on the calendar- World Cancer Day. The day is observed annually on February 4. This year, the theme is “We can. I can.” It is a part of a three-year campaign (2016-2018), to explore how everyone, as a collective or as individuals, can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.
World Cancer Day is organised by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is an opportunity to highlight the wide range of actions needed to effectively prevent, treat and control the many forms of cancer.
It was founded by UICC to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008, with an aim to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer, by 2020.
In India, corporate houses and NGOs are doing their bit to increase awareness on the growing incidences of cancer afflicted people and raise funds for the treatments, especially for the underprovided section.
The current Indian healthcare system is complex and fragmented across competing priorities of medical research and care delivery. Cancer is the second most common disease in India responsible for maximum mortality with about 0.3 million deaths per year. This is owing to the poor availability of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Approximately 1.4 million new cases are detected every year in India alone. Of the total number of deaths due to cancer, the 30-59 age group accounts for 71% of the deaths, which has a significant impact on the GDP due to direct loss of productivity.
Tata Trusts have been a leading force behind building an infrastructure in India by means of setting up large institutions and supporting clinical and technological research. The National Cancer Grid (NCG) is a specific innovation being piloted by the Trusts. The NCG formed in August 2012, was funded by the Government of India through the Department of Atomic Energy. It started out with 14 cancer centres across India, which has steadily grown to 92, covering the length and breadth of India. The primary mandate of the NCG is to link cancer centres across India, establishing uniform standards of patient care for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, providing specialised training and education in oncology and facilitating collaborative basic, translational and clinical research in cancer. The NCG is working on virtual tumour board, digital nerve centre and an expert opinion service.
The challenge with regards to cancer care in India is the inability to bring the latest advancements in treatment fast enough. With the vast number of treatment options & clinical trials available to treat cancer patients, the rapid rate at which new information is becoming available, it is important for physicians to have easy access to a single source of up-to-date data to make informed cancer treatment decisions with their patients.
32% of all treatment plans today do not meet evidence-based standards of care. There are two major problems faced by cancer patients in India i.e. access to expertise in cancer care and cost-effective medicine.
To aid in the same, SAP India collaborated with Ramesh Nimmagadda Cancer Foundation (RNCF), an NGO focused on cancer data research. RNCF helps develop an open data platform to collect information, compute and provide predictive analytics to speed up cancer diagnosis specifically for Indian patients.
More often than not, we tend to overlook the people who take care during the fight in cancer. A leading player in pathology services, Metropolis Healthcare has associated with CanSupport’s ‘Walk for Life’ to raise awareness around cancer and show solidarity towards cancer patients and their care givers.
In CanSupport’s ‘Walk for Life’, people from different age groups and professions walk or run together for one common cause to fight against cancer. Cancer survivors take part in the ‘Lap of Honour’ to inspire others and show their strength to the world.
Lack of exercise, poor eating habits, change in lifestyle and introduction of bad habits such as smoking contribute in some manner to new age problems. ‘Miscalculation’ is a short film highlighting the ill effects of tobacco, which not only affects the person but also ruins the dreams of his/her loved ones. It showcases how a child has to give up his studies and leave his dreams behind, to sell tea and manage the cost of his ailing father’s treatment for oral cancer. Gleneagles Global Hospitals are aspiring to create an emotional connect to spread the message of healthy living.
|Area of disorder||2014||2015||2016|
|Female Reproductive System||21%||18%||16%|
|Respiratory System and Intrathoracic Organs||6%||5%||4%|
|Lip, Oral Cavity & Pharynx||4%||5%||4%|
|Male Reproductive System||4%||3%||3%|
|Kidney & Urinary System||2%||2%||1%|
|Endocrine Glands and Related Structures||2%||2%||2%|
|Bone and Articular Cartilage||1%||1%||1%|
In addition to our daily working ways, we try and make sure to keep a medical policy/claim or insurance as a backup. A study by ICICI Lombard’s internal claims count with respect to cancer witnessed a year on year growth. 2016 reported 29% claims vis-à-vis 21% in 2015. 2013 and 2014 witnessed 25% and 26% claims respectively.
In addition, breast cancer claims are on a rise. Claims pertaining to this particular disease were at 28% in 2016 vis-à-vis 24% and 19% in 2015 and 2014. The numbers are consistent pertaining to digestive system and other ailments. Amongst males and females, the claims are higher in females, mainly in concern to breast cancer and female reproductive system.
So this World Cancer Day, let us raise awareness and educate about the disease, which features as a leading cause of death across the globe. We need to take action collectively across all governments and working classes. Nonetheless, the day is an ideal opportunity to spread word and raise the profile of cancer in people’s minds. You as an individual have the ability to control, to a certain extent to imbibe daily changes. Take the opportunity and make those lifestyle changes while you still have the chance. At the end of it all, you are your own responsibility.
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The CSR Journal Team