Given the backdrop of a growing burden of cancer across India, EY and FICCI collaborated for Call for Action: Making quality cancer care more accessible and affordable in India to highlight the need for more effective policy measures aimed at proactive cancer prevention and treatments.
The issue of high disease burden is compounded with late-stage detection caused mainly due to lack of awareness and low penetration of screening programs. India has a poor cancer detection rate of 29%, with only, 15% and 33% of breast lung and cervical cancers being diagnosed in stages 1 and 2, respectively, which is significantly lesser than that in China, the UK and the US.
While at one hand incidence is rising, deaths due to cancer has remained among the top 5 causes of deaths in India over the last decade. Estimates indicate that the total deaths due to cancer have been ~8 to 9 lakh in 2020, causing the mortality to incidence ratio for different cancer types in India being among the poorest compared to global counterparts.
Based on reported cancer incidence and mortality across age groups and years of potential productive life lost (YPPLL) due to the same, estimates indicate that the economic burden in terms of GDP losses is in the range of US$11B. (0.4% of national GDP) in 2020.
The same is projected to increase to US$36B to US$40B by 2030, driven by a projected increase in mortality, improvement in life expectancy and increase in GDP per capita.
Given the current state of rising cancer disease burden and sub-optimal quality of outcomes, there is a significant need to understand the current challenges and tailor make interventions across the different stages of disease management with a deep focus on:
- Awareness and prevention – Modifying exposure to risk factors that potentially lead to cancer
- Detection and diagnosis – Ensuring early detection and accurate staging of the disease
- Treatment including palliative care – Driving multidisciplinary approach to treatment with focus on affordability, equitable access, quality of outcomes and palliative care