Marginal change in approach to killer disease

Marginal change in approach to killer disease

Kidwai hospital diagnosed 16,600 cases in 2009

With WHO’s theme this year being ‘Cancer can be prevented too’, on the occasion of World Cancer Day Deccan Herald looks at the present status, affordability and obstacles in the path of cancer care in Karnataka.

According City’s Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, over 50,000 new cases are being diagnosed as per population based records. In Kidwai Hospital alone over 16,600 fresh cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2009.   

However, in terms of types of cancer, tobacco-related cancer (47.3 per cent) dominated among men, followed stomach and prostrate cancer. In women, there is a growing number of breast cancer cases among the urban women, while women from rural areas seem to be showing signs of cervical cancer with mainly human papillomavirus (HPV) infection being reported.

Dr M Vijay Kumar, Director-in charge at Kidwai, said, "Due to lifestyle changes, cases of breast cancer are more among urban women. However, cervical cancer case is more among women from rural areas due to unhygienic conditions."

Although the real reason for higher incidences of breast cancer are still unknown, family history seems to be playing a huge role.

"There are speculations about oral contraceptives but that again hasn’t been proved. It is better for women to undergo diagnosis after 30, since Indians develop cancer 10 years earlier than the standard age group internationally," said Dr Vijaykumar. However, he added that ovarian cancer and breast cancer are related and studies have shown that usage of hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of breast cancer.

Despite having advanced technology in cancer treatment with regards to refinement in Linear accelerators and more effective and less side-effective radiotherapy, what is more concerning is the affordability of cancer treatment, especially for the below poverty line (BPL) families.  

Scheme a boon to poor

At Kidwai, despite having State government grants, philanthropists’ help and providing drugs at subsidised rates, the load of patients is so high that all sources of mobilising funds always falls short. He said that the recently launched 'Survarna Arogya Suraksha' scheme where State government provides tertiary care to BPL families will be a boon for cancer treatment. 

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