India’s cancer care facilities highly inadequate, says parliamentary panel

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News:The parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, environment, forest and climate change has expressed serious concern over the rising number of cancer patients in the country.

Facts:

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Cancer is one of the leading threats to public health in India.An estimated 2.25 million people live with the disease in the country.The disease kills 8 lakh people annually.
  • Among women,the top three cancers are breast cancer, cervical cancer and oral cancer.
  • Among men,the top three cancers with the highest incidence are those in the oral cavity, cancer of the pharynx and those of the gastro-intestinal tract.
  • The inadequate Health 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 Mortality to incidence ratio of 0.68 in India is higher than that in very high human development index (HDI) countries (0.38) and high HDI countries (0.57).
  • The incidence of cancer is very high in all North Eastern States as it is higher than the national average for several types of cancer.

Suggestions by the panel:

  • Cancer infrastructure needs to be upgraded especially in underserved parts of the country and in regions where cancer incidence is high such as in all north-eastern states.
  • The panel has also urged the government to expand and upgrade cancer treatment infrastructure for affordable and quality care by enlarging the network of the Mumbai-based Tata Memorial Centre (TMC).
  • The panel has recommended he government to set up a High-Level Steering Committee to work out modalities for rolling out of a Hub and Spoke Model in a time-bound manner. 
  • This Hub and Spoke Model which is already in practice in Punjab has a network of centres or hubs capable of treating complex forms of cancer.