The very sight of the wards of Tata Memorial Hospital hit you with the chaos and monster cancer is. Every year this hospital experiences an overwhelming inflow of patients who seek Cancer treatment, reason being the care and infrastructure is absent in their vicinities. The Indian government-funded Tata Memorial is one of the few government institutions that can provide the gamut of quality cancer care for free or at highly-subsidised rates. Cancer is a curse that not just preys on the patient bus also his or her’s family, their ability to earn, their saving, their lives. It pushes people into the abyss of unending poverty too.
With very little by way of government or insurance-sponsored healthcare, it is estimated that nearly 39 million Indians are pushed into poverty by all sorts of healthcare costs. With cancer that is not difficult to imagine. The treatment runs into lakhs of rupees and it saps you of all resources. By one estimate, over 45 per cent of families with one cancer patient face catastrophic expenditures and 25 per cent are pushed below the poverty line (BPL). This is alarming. For one, cancer in India and all other developing countries is on the rise as a result of greater industrialisation, urbanisation, changing lifestyles, and an increase in average life expectancy. The Indian government’s National Cancer Control Programme, estimates that there are between 2 and 2.5 million cancer patients in the country at any given point of time.
While the curse spreads we are hardly prepared to fight it, we suffer from inadequate infrastructure, low awareness, high costs, and a lot more. Cancer is a curse that needs to be fought valiantly before it annihilates all!