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

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.


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.