Affordable healthcare still a challenge: President

Bengaluru:President Pranab Mukherjee today said affordable healthcare was still a challenge and the governments, both at the Centre and States, were making efforts for increasing the affordability of cancer treatment.

“Affordable healthcare is still a challenge for us. The cost of cancer treatment has been increasing owing to huge investments on trained manpower and equipment that are necessary for treatment,” he said at the foundation stone laying ceremony for the State Cancer Institute of Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology here.

“Both Centre and states are making their best efforts for increasing the affordability of cancer treatment.”

Sustained and collaborative multi-agency effort is needed to minimise the suffering of patients and their families, Mukherjee said.

He said India needs to develop a system for early detection and proper disease management, and explore how technology can be best utilised for both prevention of cancer and its treatment.

“An appropriate and well defined communication strategy will be one of the key factors in the fight against cancer,” he said.

Mukherjee said the incidence of cancer has been increasing worldwide, and India also is showing a steep increase in cases over the years.

“From the data available with the National Cancer Registry Programme of ICMR, it has been estimated that on an average, one in about fifteen men and one in about twelve women in the urban centres would be at risk of developing cancer in their lifetime,” he said.

Efforts have been made by the Indian Council of Medical Research to make cancer a notifiable disease on a national basis with the objective of generating authentic data on cancer and associated issues which will help to map the resources for diagnosis, treatment and cancer control, he said.

Reliable data will help in understanding the magnitude of this disease and formulating a more comprehensive and nuanced cancer care policy for the nation, he said.

Early detection is normally a game changer in the overall treatment and management of cancer which will get a boost with reliable data, the President said.