Cancer is slowly becoming a global issue. The World Health Organization reports that cancer is responsible for almost 9 million deaths each year, about one in six people is struck down by this terrible disease, and these statistics are only getting worse. Everyone is at risk from this silent killer that does not discriminate.
While new treatments and medication are constantly being developed and implemented almost daily, there is still a problem with making them affordable and accessible to everyone. In India, the second largest country in the world, cancer is a particularly big problem, with mortality rates reaching 70%. The main reason is late detection, usually due to lack of information.
Some good news is on the horizon for the citizens of India. A new program is currently underway, the Free Cancer Chemotherapy Scheme. Currently, only APST patients are eligible for receiving free chemotherapy treatment, but there are plans to cover all working individuals in the near future.
Dr. Syam Tsering, head of the radiation and oncology department at the Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences (TRIHMS), Naharlagun, said that in 2017 about 450 patients took advantage of this project. For men, the most common cases presented were for stomach, liver and lung cancer, while most women suffered from stomach, breast and cervix tumors. Among the more prevalent factors, he included obesity, sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise.
The facilities at TCC offer chemotherapy, radiation and oncology though they are a bit understaffed, with only six junior specialist doctors present. With substantial funding on the way, Dr. Tsering is hopeful that more people will register to benefit from this program and that he can make a real difference in the healthcare of his countrymen.