Covid-19 pandemic has worsened India’s cancer burden – WeForNews
Hyderabad, February 3: On the eve of World Cancer Day, cancer experts say the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened India’s cancer burden over the past two years.
Lockdowns and movement restrictions during the pandemic, with travel difficulties, combined with fear of contracting Covid have prevented most patients from accessing cancer care.
Non-communicable diseases account for almost 63% of the total number of deaths in India, and cancer, at 9%, is one of the leading causes.
As many as 1,392,179 people in India had cancer in 2020, and the top five disease sites are breast, head and neck, uterus and lungs.
Specialists point out that 94.1 out of 100,000 men are cancer patients in India, and this number rises to 103.6 out of 100,000 women. They believe that India needs to take a proactive approach to reducing this burden.
“India is a low to middle income country, and there is a significant increase in the incidence of cancer and most patients are coming in with advanced and metastatic disease due to lack of awareness. government is taking necessary steps to raise awareness, improvement is needed at the village and district headquarters level such as online education and building health care teams to tackle this issue,” he told IANS Dr. Madhu Devarasetty, Senior Consultant Surgical Oncologist, KIMS Hospitals.
According to a study published by The Lancet, a leading healthcare and research platform, cancer services such as new patient registrations, outpatient services, hospital admissions, major surgeries against cancer all fell in India from March 2020.
Lockdowns and movement restrictions and the fear of contracting Covid have prevented many people from accessing cancer care.
Additionally, some hospitals had to be desperately converted into Covid centers and with several hospital staff affected by Covid themselves, reduced resources for cancer care made things difficult.
“This situation, although it has gradually improved in 2021, we observe that the fear of Covid-19 has kept many patients away from home and then, presenting with an advanced stage of cancer or with multiple uncontrolled comorbidities which must being treated at the same time as cancer treatments increases risks and also delay,” observed Dr. M Srinivas Reddy, Senior Consultant Surgical Oncologist at American Institute of Oncology -Kamineni Hospitals, LB Nagar.
He believes that screening should be prioritized for cancer, as is done for infectious diseases. “I call on our government to develop apps to spread cancer awareness. The government could eventually design strategies to make the most of this data in the fight against other common health complications like cancer,” he said.
Dr. Vaibhav Chaudhary, Medical Oncology Consultant, Wockhardt Hospital, Nagpur, believes that awareness, early diagnosis and treatment are three key ways to prevent or cure cancer in people. “Unless people come for early diagnosis and treatment, which only happens by being aware of the risk, the burden of cancer cannot be reduced in the country. Since the beginning of 2020, we have noticed that many patients at risk of developing cancer are delaying seeing a doctor. It is important for cancer patients and those at risk of developing cancer to overcome all their fears and see a doctor to overcome cancer,” he said.
Commenting on the spread of cancer in recent times, Dr. Srikanth Soma, Surgical Oncology Consultant at SLG Hospital, said that many factors such as tobacco consumption, unhealthy dietary practices and poor hygiene among economically more low are possible reasons for the spread of cancer diseases in the country. . “In addition to these, there are hereditary factors that increase the burden of cancer, especially in women. While there are ways to effectively tackle these issues, lack of awareness is a major challenge to doing so.