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Lifestyle changes can prevent huge cancer expenses & outcomes: WB Health Secretary

Feb 05, 2019

FICCI seminar on tackling rising burden of cancer in India


KOLKATA, 5 February 2019: Keeping up the momentum set forth on the World Cancer Day on 4th February, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) today organized a Seminar on 'Tackling the Rising Burden of Cancer: Time to Act Together'. The Theme of the Seminar reinforced that the collective effort of all stakeholders towards affordable cancer care was the only way forward to tackle the rising incidence of the disease in the country.


Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally after cardiovascular diseases. India has an estimated population of approximately 2.25 million living with cancer, with over 1.1 million new registered cancer patients every year.  According to ICMR, the contribution of cancer to total deaths and Disability-adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in India has doubled since 1990 and by 2020 India is likely to suffer with over 8.8 lakh deaths due to the disease. Low level of awareness, unhealthy lifestyle, late diagnosis and the lack of or inequitable access to affordable curative care contributes to the unacceptable rise in burden of the disease.


Mr Binod Kumar, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Government of West Bengal, said that catastrophic health expenditures and outcomes could be prevented through simple lifestyle modifications. He added that the government of West Bengal recognizes cancer as a priority area and apart from national and state-wide programs targeted at cancer screening and treatment, provisions are also being made under other wider healthcare schemes, such as Swasthya Sathi - which covers hospitalization for about 6 crore beneficiaries.

Dr Mammen Chandy, Director, Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, shared the vision of a nation with affordable and accessible cancer care. He highlighted that the key tenets for reducing the burden of cancer in India must include patient education and awareness, access to screening, appropriate physical infrastructure and trained manpower. He also emphasized on the need for specialist courses in cancer care for healthcare professionals.

The FICCI seminar, was a part of its endeavour under the FICCI Swasth Bharat (Public Health) Task Force, and brought together various stakeholders including representatives from the government, healthcare providers, oncologists, medical technology companies, NGOs and multilateral agencies to share best practices, recent technological advancements in cancer care and deliberate on awareness, prevention, early detection and provision for affordable cancer care in the country.

Dr Alok Roy, Co-Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee & Chairman, Medica Group of Hospitals and Mr Aditya Burman, Director, Oncquest Laboratories Ltd shared their perspectives and steered the discussions towards making cancer care affordable and accessible in the country.

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