On the important occasion of World Cancer Day Today, Dr. Niti Krishna Raizada, Director of Medical Oncology and Hemato-Oncologist at Fortis Cancer Institute, Fortis Group of Hospitals, La Femme, Bangalore, says nearly 1 in 10 Indians are at risk of developing cancer in their lifetime, a risk that increases with age.
“Lifestyle factors, including tobacco and alcohol, stress, poor physical activity and diet, contribute to cancer. breast canceroral cavity cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer They are the most common cancers in our society. All of them can be diagnosed early, and most have preinvasive (precancerous) stages that can be diagnosed with simple tests and prevented,” he adds.
The doctor claims that screening programs are of extreme value, and that everyone age 40 and older should visit an oncologist once a year for an annual checkup. “This may include a basic blood profile and gender and/or risk specific tests.”
“If there are any suspicious lesions, a oncologist I would opt for a needle test or a biopsy. If the biopsy confirms cancer, certain biomarkers decide the treatment; together with it, we can do certain scans to classify the cancer.
“The treatment is in the form of radiotherapy, surgery, systemic therapy, which can be chemotherapy, biological therapy or immunotherapies or transplantation. Most of the treatment is now individualized or personalized according to certain characteristics of the tumor and the patient. Surgeries are becoming more organ-sparing. Radiation is highly specialized. Systemic therapy is often based on the expression of certain molecular markers. This has given rise to an entire era of precision oncology, and tests such as blood or tumor mutation analysis are often performed,” explains Dr. Raizada.
Continuing with this year’s theme, which is ‘Closing the Care Gap’, the doctor adds that it is important to be aware of the issues and address the barriers to accessing care.
How can this be done?
1. Identify high-risk groups, such as people with certain addictions, occupations, family history, etc. for detection and prevention programs. These risk groups may be the subject of specific counseling and testing.
2. Patients who have already been diagnosed with cancer and who may not be taking treatment due to poor social support or economic reasons should be identified and a holistic approach taken to manage them.
3. There may not be enough facilities in the area where the patient lives. The key is to develop a service center that includes talent and technology so that more and more people can be served.
4. Patients may not have enough information about their condition. This requires better communication on the part of the caregiver and health care provider and also having more coordinators working to address these issues.
Patient engagement strategies by health care providers may include:
* Risk stratification or basically segmentation of the population into risk groups so that high-risk groups can be adequately addressed. This also includes vaccination programs and preventive care.
* Disclosure program where health care Providers reach high-need population to close care gaps.
* Patient education, which can be done through schools, universities and workplaces, through marketing campaigns and media activities.
* Work to address barriers such as geographic area, racial bias, income group, and transportation.