Access to Cancer Treatment: Current Milestones and the Way Forward for Cancer Care for All in India
The Cancer Conclave 2023 brought together experts from various fields to discuss the challenges of cancer treatment in India and the way forward. The panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Saravana Rajamanickam, featured Ms. Viji Venkatesh, Region Head, India & South Asia, The Max Foundation, Ms. Priya Dutt, an activist and personal cancer caregiver, and Dr. Bhavesh Poladia, a renowned oncologist.
The panelists discussed the progress that has been made in cancer care in India over the years, highlighting the establishment of dedicated cancer hospitals and the availability of advanced treatments such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy. However, they also acknowledged the persistent challenges in accessing cancer treatment, particularly for those in rural areas and those from low-income backgrounds.
Ms. Viji Venkatesh emphasized the need for a multi-pronged approach to improve access to cancer care, including investment in infrastructure, awareness campaigns, and government support. She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of telemedicine and other digital solutions, which can help bridge the gap in access to care.
Ms. Priya Dutt shared her personal experience as a cancer caregiver and emphasized the need for a patient-centric approach to cancer care. She emphasized the importance of emotional and psychological support for patients and their families, in addition to medical treatment.
Dr. Bhavesh Poladia discussed the importance of precision medicine in cancer treatment, which involves tailoring treatment to an individual patient’s specific genetic profile. He noted that advances in genomic testing have made precision medicine more accessible and emphasized the need for continued investment in research and development.
Overall, the panelists agreed that while there have been significant strides in cancer care in India, there is still much work to be done to ensure access to treatment for all. The discussion highlighted the need for collaboration between stakeholders in the healthcare industry and government to continue making progress in cancer care and treatment.