Cancer is said to be one of the most common conditions amongst Indians and the sad part is India is listed as the third-highest in cancer deaths in the world. The graph is pointing north and there is an estimated forecast of 25% increase by the year 2020. These are by far alarming figures. So, we need to be ready to fight the dreaded diseases and the first step to it is awareness about the conditions and their treatments.
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CANCER & ITS CAUSES
Every year over 6 lac people in India succumb to cancer in India. The most common cancers in India amongst men are oral, lung, and throat cancers while in women its breast cancer, cervix cancer, and ovarian cancers. Even colon, prostate, and kidney cancers are common types of cancers amongst the aged group. Apparently, the causes of 25% of the cancers including bone, leukemia, and more aren’t known yet. The majority of cancer cases in India are that of oral cancers in men caused due to excessive intake of tobacco and its products. In women, cancer of the breast, uterus, and kidney is caused due to obesity issues and genetic issues. Cervical cancer is a result of personal hygiene issues. The major causes of all remain tobacco use, obesity, and cancer-causing pathogens.
TREATMENT IN INDIA v/s ABROAD
Every other day, we wake up to the news of some celebrity catching cancer and also that most of them moving abroad for treatment. But, the words coming out of the horse’s mouth speak a different story. Ask the leading oncologists and cancer specialists in India, and they say that India is one of the best destinations for cancer treatment. The primary reason is the cost factor. While comparing the treatment cost overseas in Dollars or Pounds, India almost 500% to 700% cheaper. Furthermore, due to globalization getting the latest medications in India is quick, at the latest by 3 months or so. India not only has expert oncologists, but it is also equipped with the latest equipment and treatment facilities across cancer hospitals.
CANCER TREATMENT TYPES
The course of treatment depends upon the diagnosis of the condition and its current stage. The commonly used cancer treatments in India include Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy, Immunotherapy, Hormone Therapy, Stem cell transplant, targeted therapy, and precision medicine. The treatment might include one or a combination of two or more treatments from the above, the common ones are radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
The latest in cancer treatment in India is CyberKnife Surgery, a non-invasive, pain-free robotic radiation therapy with no side effects as such.
COST OF CANCER TREATMENT IN INDIA
The cost varies depending upon the cancer type, stage of cancer, the treatment type, and hospital as well. While chemotherapy treatment includes traditional, standard, or cytotoxic chemotherapy and radiation therapy includes systematic radiation therapy (SRT), Radioimmunotherapy, Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), to name a few. The cost depends on the type of therapy and the number of cycles. Well, radiotherapy is said to be the most expensive of all.
Well, Cancer does cost, but there’s always a way out. Some NGOs in India work towards financing patients through this life-threatening condition. Even some hospitals in India do offer Cancer treatment facilities at subsidized rates. One such hospital is Vydehi Insitute of Medical Sciences, Bangalore. The oncology centre VOICE at VIMS offers cancer treatments at almost 30% less cost compared to any other cancer treatment institute or hospital in Karnataka. While offering Financial assistance for advanced treatments like IGRT/ IMRT/ SBRT/SRS /HIPEC to all, it also provides free cancer treatment to BPL cardholders of Karnataka. Besides housing highly qualified and experienced oncologists and cancer specialists, this centre is lately equipped with a hi-tech radiation zone that features Versa HD -Stereotactic Precision Radiotherapy unit (Triple F). Featuring high precision beam shaping and tumor targeting, Versa HD is designed with new capabilities to provide faster and more accurate treatment for a wide range of cancer conditions.