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25 Feb 2024, Edition - 3148, Sunday

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India’s Cancer Burden Is Growing, Is Early Detection a Possible Solution?

by businesswireindia.com

Business Wire India
  • India has 3rd highest number of cancer cases among women (after China and US)
  • Cancer among women in India is estimated at 0.7 million
  • India is projected to see 1.23 million new cancer cases a year, with a 20% increase expected by 2020
  • In India, 70% of new cases will lead to death within a year
  • The consequences of delayed or inaccessible cancer care are lower likelihood of survival, greater morbidity of treatment and higher costs of care, resulting in avoidable deaths and disability from cancer (WHO)
In March 2018, globally acclaimed Indian actor Irfan Khan was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour. And in less than a quarter, another leading Bollywood star Sonali Bendre has been diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer. These two prominent cases have triggered conversations around increasing threat of cancer to Indian population. Over the past decade, year on year, data has been showing increase in various kinds of cancers amongst Indian population. As disease burden rises it’s important for general public to realise the potential of proactive cancer screening tests. Why? While prevention is better than cure, it is difficult in practice. Pre-emption is the next best thing.

medECUBE PREEMPT is exactly such a program. It is the latest offering from medECUBE, a 'Clinical Coordination Service' which seamlessly eliminates the various friction points from a patient’s medical journey.

Dr. Dilpreet Brar, Founder and MD- medECUBE Healthcare said, "In the context of growing cancer burden, India is majorly battling two challenges. One being a behavioural challenge of procrastinating preventive check-ups, as people do not wish to learn of something complex or fatal; and the second being, simple ignorance of advanced medical tests which may be able to help an individual screen for cancers. With advent of personalized genetic, genomic and proteomic testing, a new class of diagnostic tests is now available. These tests require careful planning – including some routine bloodwork and imaging studies and a consult – to determine what follow-on genetic testing would be useful. medECUBE has created such a service with standard packages and add-on genetic tests that are personalized for every individual."

Unfortunately, in India nearly two-thirds of cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, reducing patient’s chances of cure and survival. Cancer if detected early can be treated at a much lower cost compared to that when diagnosed at an advanced stage. Also, the mortality rate is reduced substantially if people get screened when the earliest symptoms manifest, or even sooner.

Many cancers start because of acquired gene mutations that happen during a person’s lifetime. Sometimes these genomic changes have an external cause, such as exposure to sunlight or tobacco. But gene mutations can also be random events. In recent years, scientists have discovered a number of mutations that can contribute to a person's risk of developing certain cancers, including breast, ovarian, colorectal, and prostate cancer, as well as some other, less common cancer types.

Expressing concern over the rising cases in India, Dr. Atamjot Grewal, Vice President- Clinical Systems said, "India records a large number of cancer cases every year. The focus needs to shift from treatment to prevention strategies which include early detection. Early detection through regular screening is important as an abnormal tissue or cancer is found well before it shows symptoms. Numerous evolved and innovative diagnostic chains are working to revolutionize cancer care by bringing and developing advancing cancer screening tests designed to find cancers at an early stage when they are more treatable. Some of these tests include liquid biopsy, mammography, genetic tests, MRI, HPV, PSA, etc."
Name of the test Purpose and scope
Colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and high-sensitivity fecal occult blood tests (FOBTs)
These tests have all been shown to reduce deaths from colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy also help prevent colorectal cancer because they can detect abnormal colon growths (polyps) that can be removed before they develop into cancer. Expert groups generally recommend that people who are at average risk for colorectal cancer have screening at ages 50 through 75.
Low-dose helical computed tomography This test to screen for lung cancer has been shown to reduce lung cancer deaths among heavy smokers ages 55 to 74.
Mammography This method to screen for breast cancer has been shown to reduce mortality from the disease among women ages 40 to 74, especially those age 50 or older.
Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing These tests reduce the incidence of cervical cancer because they allow abnormal cells to be identified and treated before they become cancer. They also reduce deaths from cervical cancer. Testing is generally recommended to begin at age 21 and to end at age 65, as long as recent results have been normal.
Alpha-fetoprotein blood test This test is sometimes used, along with ultrasound of the liver, to try to detect liver cancer early in people at high risk of the disease.
Breast MRI This imaging test is often used for women who carry a harmful mutation in the BRCA1 gene or the BRCA2 gene; such women have a high risk of breast cancer, as well as increased risk for other cancers.
CA-125 test This blood test, which is often done together with a transvaginal ultrasound, may be used to try to detect ovarian cancer early, especially in women with an increased risk of the disease. Although this test can help in diagnosing ovarian cancer in women who have symptoms and can be used to evaluate the recurrence of cancer in women previously diagnosed with the disease, it has not been shown to be an effective ovarian cancer screening test.

Source: Businesswire