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Indian hospitals keen to navigate roadblocks to cancer patient recovery with regular annual screening

Indian hospitals keen to navigate roadblocks to cancer patient recovery with regular annual screening


Posted on February 22, 2024 Updated on February 18, 2024

Indian hospitals are keen to navigate roadblocks to cancer patient recovery with regular annual screening. While India excels in initial treatment and interventions, several challenges in post-treatment care hinder optimal recovery and long-term well-being.

India has made significant strides in its medical care, showcasing technology, skilled professionals, and infrastructure. However, despite these advancements, a critical aspect often overlooked is patient recovery, noted hospitals including Fortis.

According to Dr V Sreekanth Reddy, consultant surgical oncologist, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru, with government policies, making cancer a notifiable disease would enable better management and resource allocation. Data-driven insights collected at well-equipped centers with cancer specialist teams can guide policy interventions and lessen both government and patient financial burdens. We need to close the cancer care gap.

It is reported that in 2008 the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) recommended making cancer a notifiable disease in the country. Fourteen years later, 15 states have made it mandatory.

The country has advanced in the field of medicine and especially in oncology. But still it’s a long way to catch up with other developing countries. Despite notable growth in healthcare facilities, both public and private, including specialized cancer centers, the distribution of medical resources and trained oncologists with over 200 graduating annually, all of them often opt major cities. This mismatch between demand and accessible care needs addressing, he added.

Compounding these are patient awareness about health. Early detection is crucial for better outcomes, yet many Indian patients present at advanced stages due to low awareness of cancer symptoms and limited access to comprehensive screening programmes. Increased public education and nationwide, affordable screening initiatives are vital, noted Dr Reddy.

Though we are still a developing country we have seen a significant growth in across both public and private sectors with an increase in dedicated hospitals catering exclusively for cancer. There is a center of excellence in cancer in each state and several smaller centers in many cities. Yet there is a need for more such centres, he said.

Inspite of having world class facilities, well trained doctors at most of the cities we are still seeing a huge difference in the cancer outcomes that’s because most of the Indian patients are presenting to hospital in advances stages. There are two main reasons for this are low awareness among general population about cancer symptoms and lack of robust cancer screening programmes. A huge difference can be made in this by conducting many cancer awareness programmes and having regular annual screening check-ups, he noted.

Such a system would prioritize not just treatment but also optimal recovery and long-term well-being irrespective of socioeconomic backgrounds. It is through collaborative efforts that India can shape the future of healthcare and set new standards for patient recovery, said Dr Reddy.

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