Is cancer curable and why are cancer treatments so expensive?
According to the Economic Times of India, there are 1 million cases of cancer reported in India. There are numerous types of cancers namely breast cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, blood cancer, kidney, liver, colon, prostate cancer, and many more. Cancer is related to the growth of abnormal cells in the body that spreads to other parts and metastasis in the body if not treated at an early stage. Each cancer has its own grade, type, symptoms, and stages.
When it comes to cancer, there is no one-size-fits-all philosophy, as every cancer is different. Prostate cancer treatment in India is available at an affordable cost compared to other nations in the world.
However, there are many success stories where cancer has been completely cured. However, there is no guarantee that cancer will come back. Many people have asked, “Is prostate cancer curable in India?” Every year about 15 lakh cases are reported of which 85% are stage four cancer which means it is hard to say that the person could live more than 3 years. Surviving at the last stage of cancer is the least.
The reason being- doctors do not have complete knowledge about the cancer disease and some cancers even after the treatment remains in the body which they divide, multiply and spread to form a new tumor. If you have cancer and you’re treated for it and it doesn’t relapse (come back again) then it is considered to be cured.
According to Global cancer Observatory, a city like Nigeria has reported 22% breast cancer, 12% prostate cancer, 9% cervix cancer, 6% colorectal cancer, 5.9% lymphoma, and 43% other types of cancer in the year 2020.
Is cancer curable?
Answering this question is based on uncertainty as Cancer is a chronic and life-threatening disease. There is no cure for cancer but various treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and hormone therapy together can help slow down its progression and even cure cancer. But there is no guarantee if cancer comes back.
Usually, people who are treated for cancer get cured but some instances have shown that cancer hits them back in a few years. In some cases, it has also been seen that cancer cure has given a better life to individuals while in some cases, people died due to other causes. Cancer treatments are given in a view to provide relief from pain and symptoms, kill the tumor cells in the body, and control and prevent its spread to other parts of the body.
Treatments for cancer:
The following are examples of common cancer treatments:
- Clinical trials
- Palliative care
- Hormone Therapy
- Bone marrow transplant
- Targeted drug therapy
Your oncologist will best guide you with the treatment option depending on your age, overall health, location of the tumor and type of cancer.
Fortunately, there has been progressing in cancer treatment due to advancements in medicines and technologies. Researchers are working on a groundbreaking level to determine the cause of cancer and stop its progression. Additionally, there are few safe, non-medical treatments such as Yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture to offset the side effects of cancer and provide relief to the patient.
Why are cancer treatments so expensive in India?
Cancer treatments are more expensive because of the use of drugs that are priced high. Many patients cannot afford medical treatment as it can cost up to 20 lakhs in India. Many patients, unfortunately, therefore, discontinue their treatments because they can’t afford them.
According to King’s College, London research- cancer treatment is the most expensive treatment. The question is what drives the cost of cancer treatment. In a nutshell, expensive cancer drugs, infrastructure, technology, and personnel ( doctors and nurses) drives the cost of cancer treatment.
The fees of doctors per day visit are really high. The nurses are paid compensation because they take utmost responsibility in caring for the cancer patient. To treat the patient, healthcare facilities must be top-notch.
Lastly, the cost of the drugs. Some of the cancer treatments can cost thousands of dollars across the world because of the new, high-tech medicines. No doubt there are health insurance services, but they cannot cover the complete charges of the treatment.
The cost of cancer treatment 2020 is estimated to be Five lakh to ten lakhs in India. If you involve the cost of precision medications, new immunotherapy drugs, the cost may go up to 1 crore.
Fortunately, in the coming years, these medicines will be available at less cost as companies are working out ways to reduce the cost of the drugs. Hence, it is rightly said, “Prevention is better than cure.” You can prevent the risk of cancer by adopting healthy lifestyle choices such as limiting alcohol intake, quitting smoking, protecting skin against harmful UV rays, maintaining ideal body weight, eating right, and doing regular physical activity.
All these changes can help save a lot of money and largely reduce your risk of developing cancer in the long run.
Furthermore, if cancer is diagnosed early on, the cost of cancer treatment can be lower. Treating cancer in aggressive stages can be too expensive. In general, a tumor in its early stages is easier to treat and requires fewer medical treatments. Even preventing screening such as CT scan, mammogram, Pap smear can help reduce the cost of treating cancer.
Cancer is the most dangerous disease and the most expensive treatment. It can take a toll on a person’s health, emotions, relations, time, and most importantly can burn a hole in the pocket. There are unexpected charges with the need to be paid and even insurance cannot cover all of them.