An aggressive approach to control rising cancer cases, making affordable treatment available in different cities, inculcating healthy lifestyle practices are some of the suggestions made by the experts to tackle the menace of this disease.
Several experts from India and abroad aired their views on ways to tackle cancer at a discussion on ‘What are we doing about cancer?’ organised by Difficult Dialogue Summit in Goa on Sunday.
“The union government has set a goal to reduce cancer cases by 15 per cent in 2020 and 30 per cent by 2030. Both the goals are too little and too late. There should be more aggressive approach towards controlling the disease,” said Sneh Bhargava, a veteran radiologist, who was part of the discussions on Sunday.
“As much as Rs 1.4 lakh crore are going into cancer treatment in the country at national level from patients as well as from the governments,” she said.
Anshu Prakash, who was earlier joint secretary in union health ministry said there are 40 lakh cases of cancer patients at any point of time in the country.
The number of fresh detection is getting added by 15 lakh every year and 6.5 lakh person die every year due to cancer, said Prakash.
“Of the total detections, one third of cases are preventable and another one third are treatable,” said the former official of health ministry.
Of the total cancer detections in the country, 30 per cent are directly linked to tobacco use, Prakash said.
Prakash was recently promoted as additional secretary and financial adviser to union ministry of rural development.
Vini Mahajan, principal secretary to Punjab government said, “Punjab had earned notoriety as capital of cancer some 7-9 years back and it was being blamed on use of pesticides and insecticides for agriculture. In reality, cancer cases are related to food habits and health practices. Now the cancer prevalence is in control but lot of work is still to be done.”
Jayant Vaidya, a London based breast cancer specialist said, “Over diagnosis is one of the challenges in preventive diagnosis. There are many tumours in the body that have no impact but people treat them out of anxiety.”
“There is also need to make treatment available in all parts of the country because many people are forced to go to Mumbai for affordable treatment. They are forced to stay on pavements or at shabby places because of limited resources, said Vaidya.”