Government has recently approved a scheme for enhancing the Tertiary Care Cancer facilities in India under NPCDCS (National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes,Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke) to grant financial assistance to 20 State Cancer Institutes and 50 Tertiary Cancer Care Centres in different parts of the country, Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare said at an event on ‘Women’s Health Confluence on Prevention and Cure of Cancers & Thyroid Disorders,’ organised by ASSOCHAM in New Delhi today.
The prevalence of hypothyroidism in India is 11 percent, compared to only 2 percent in the United Kingdom and 4.6 percent in the United States of America. Compared with coastal cities like Mumbai, Goa and Chennai, cities located inland like Kolkata, Delhi, Ahmadabad, Bangalore and Hyderabad have a higher prevalence,” said Patel.
“Today’s India is a young India, where people are willing to work hard with an assurance of being masters of their own destiny. I would like to mention here that India is a signatory to the 2030 agenda for ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ and is committed to achieve the SDGs including SDG-3 to ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’. The ‘National Health Policy, 2017’ envisages to attain the highest possible level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive healthcare orientation in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality healthcare services without anyone having to face financial hardship. This would be achieved through increasing access, improving quality and lowering the cost of healthcare delivery”, the Minister further added.
The policy, while supporting the need for moving in the direction of a right based approach to healthcare is conscious of the fact that threshold levels of finances and infrastructure is a precondition for an enabling environment, to ensure that the poorest of the poor stand to gain the maximum and are not embroiled in legalities. The policy therefore advocates a progressively incremental assurance based approach, with assured funding to create an enabling environment for realising healthcare as a right in the future,” said Patel.
She further said that currently, women in India, like in other South East Asian countries, face numerous health issues, which ultimately affect their aggregate economic output. We know that women are pivotal contributors to society in their roles as mothers, sisters, family members, and as socially responsible citizens. Addressing the gender, class or ethnic disparities that exist in healthcare and improving the health outcome, can contribute to women empowerment and socio-economic gain.
“Between 30–50 percent of cancers can currently be prevented. This can be accomplished by avoiding risk factors and implementing existing evidence-based prevention strategies. Many cancers have a high chance of cure if diagnosed early and treated adequately. So, the key to survival is prevention, early detection, and proper cure which are possible only with proper awareness among people. Not only the Government, but also private players and NGOs have a great role in creating awareness on the preventive care and symptoms of these diseases. Cancer burden can thus be reduced through early detection and management,” added the minister.
“Determining the goals of treatment and palliative care is an important first step, and health services should be integrated and people-centred. The primary goal is generally to cure cancer or to considerably prolong life. Improving the patient's quality of life is also an important goal. This can be achieved by supportive or palliative care and psycho-social support,” the Minister further said.
Awareness for prevention of cancer and early detection of cancer is being carried out at all levels through non-communicable disease (NCD) clinics at districts and community health centre (CHC) levels. However higher level facilities for surgery, chemotherapy and supportive care are available only at district hospitals. I am told that 388 district NCD clinics and 2,115 CHC NCD clinics are functional in the country as on March 2017, said Patel.
In India, million people suffer from thyroid diseases. There is a high burden of thyroid disorders in India due to endemic iodine deficiency and scarcity of proper therapeutic resources. Thyroid disorders are more common in women than men with the prevalence of 664 percent and 33.6 percent respectively, reveals the ASSOCHAM-Turacoz joint paper coinciding with the “World Thyroid Day” (May 25) noted.
Thyroid disorder is another area affecting women’s health. Common manifestations of thyroid disease in women reportedly include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid cancers. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are about 10 times more prevalent in women than in men. Unfortunately, awareness about the disease and its diagnosis remain shockingly low and there is a pressing need to reach out and make women aware of the causes, symptoms, treatment and importance of screening for thyroid problems.