The theme of this year’s World Cancer Day is Not Beyond Us, which emphasises they importance of being proactive and raising awareness, which could potentially save millions of lives. On that note, we’d like to talk about the implications of some cancer statistics and how we can overcome the roadblocks to ensure better survival rates for cancer patients.

Cancer Incidence to double in India over the next 20 Years1

This means that there are going to be a lot more patients to be treated, which will put considerable strain on our already stretched resources. Which means we’ll be needing more oncologists, with adequate training required to take on this new volume of cases. Also, hospitals and practices need to be better equipped with treatment facilities and in-patient wards to deal with the increased number of patients.

The importance of affordable care

Cancer can affect anyone, and with such a sharp increase in cancer incidence rates, there are bound to be patients with limited access to proper healthcare. In India, the cost of cancer treatment on average comes up to 35,5002. But the average income of an individual is 73,1402. This shows that cancer-treatment is well beyond the economic reach of the average Indian. But proper medical care must be available to everyone, and that’s why the emphasis is on affordable care. Without it, the patients don’t stand a chance, and our mortality rates are only going to go up.

Prevention is the key

Indian men have always had a reputation for brushing off health concerns, and putting off visits to the doctors. We know that cancer is a Staged disease, and according to stats, 80% (regardless of gender) consult their doctors at the stage where recovery is very rare3. Events like World Cancer Day attempt to address this exact problem, by increasing awareness about the symptoms and treatment options. Increased awareness will translate to earlier diagnoses, which greatly increases the chances of recovery.

The consequence of lifestyle

Even though everyone knows what a serious disease cancer is, they tend to be lax while dealing with its causes. Most patients seem to believe that they can never get cancer and continue with their unhealthy lifestyles. Around 50%4 of new cancers are a direct result of poor lifestyle choices. The urban malaise of the sedentary lifestyle, coupled with social vices such as drinking and smoking in addition to increasing levels of pollutants that they encounter leads to higher cancer incidence. Since most of these causes are essentially choices made by patients, we could potentially be preventing so many cancer cases by raising awareness.

Survival rates are going up

Even though cancer incidence rates are going up really fast, treatment options are getting more sophisticated and we are able to treat and prevent way more cancers now. Great advancements in treatment methods and increased rates of diagnoses mean that doctors have more time to work with the patient to formulate an effective treatment plan. Cancer was previously thought of to be an incurable and terminal diseases, but the new stats5 are heartening in the fact that they signal great hope for cancer patients.

For more Cancer statistics, check out our infographic.