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ABOUT CANCER

CANCER ?

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 Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. 

TYPES

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 The major types of cancer are carcinoma, sarcoma, melanoma, lymphoma, and leukemia. Carcinomas -- the most commonly diagnosed cancers -- originate in the skin, lungs, breasts, pancreas, and other organs and glands. Lymphomas are cancers of lymphocytes. Leukemia is cancer of the blood. 

CAUSES

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Biological or internal factors, such as age, gender, inherited genetic defects and skin type. environmental exposure, for instance to radon and UV radiation, and fine particulate matter. occupational risk factors, including carcinogens such as many chemicals, radioactive materials and asbestos. ... 

TEST/CHECKUP

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 Examples of blood tests used to diagnose cancer include: Complete blood count (CBC). This common blood test measures the amount of various types of blood cells in a sample of your blood. Blood cancers may be detected using this test if too many or too few of a type of blood cell or abnormal cells are found. 

TREATMENT

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 Types of Cancer Treatment. Surgery. When used to treat cancer, surgery is a procedure in which a surgeon removes cancer from your body. Radiation Therapy. Chemotherapy. Immunotherapy to Treat Cancer. Targeted Therapy. Hormone Therapy. Stem Cell Transplant. Precision Medicine. 

RESEARCH

Cancer research is research into cancer to identify causes and develop strategies for prevention, di

 Cancer research is research into cancer to identify causes and develop strategies for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. Cancer research ranges from epidemiology, molecular bioscience to the performance of clinical trials to evaluate and compare applications of the various cancer treatments. 

PATIENT SUPPORT & HELP

GOVERNMENT SCHEMES

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  May 23, 2018 - Health Minister's Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) has been set up for providing financial assistance to the poor patients suffering from cancer. A Corpus Fund of Rs. 100 crore has been set up, which has been placed in fixed deposit. ... Patients suffering from cancer and living below poverty line, prescribed from time to time. 

FREE MEDICINE

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 According to health department officials, they are distributing free medicines which are useful in treatment of cancer including chemotherapy such as Imatinib, Melphalan, and Cytarabine. 

 Following are the top best free cancer treatment hospitals/centres in India: Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai,OTHERS

BLOOD DONATION

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 It's Free. It can match you with a donor near you in minutes. And you can save the life of a loved one. You can also Sign up as a donor at the site and save the life ...

 Here is the list and links of websites and web links of the Blood Donors in India. There are many Blood donors available in various places in different states and ... 


 

GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL

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 Aug 20, 2018 - Following are the top best free cancer treatment hospitals/centres in India: Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore. Tata Memorial Hospital, Kolkata. Regional Cancer Center,Thiruvananthapuram. Cancer Care Foundation of India, Mumbai. 

ASHRAM FOR PATIENTS

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 - Sanjay's mother now hopes against all odds that her son would recover. Many terminally ill cancer patients have found succour in the last stages of their life at this ashram , set up in 1978 by oncologist L J de Souza in Mumbai. The ashram now has branches in Goa and Delhi as well. 

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

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 ICS was the first to offer cancer insurance in collaboration with New India ... Financial assistance of over Rs 30 lakhs per year is given to patients in need. 

ABOUT CANCER

 

Key facts

  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer.
  • Approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Around one third of deaths from cancer are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.
  • Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer and is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer deaths (2).
  • Cancer causing infections, such as hepatitis and human papilloma virus (HPV), are responsible for up to 25% of cancer cases in low- and middle-income countries (3).
  • Late-stage presentation and inaccessible diagnosis and treatment are common. In 2017, only 26% of low-income countries reported having pathology services generally available in the public sector. More than 90% of high-income countries reported treatment services are available compared to less than 30% of low-income countries.
  • The economic impact of cancer is significant and is increasing. The total annual economic cost of cancer in 2010 was estimated at approximately US$ 1.16 trillion (4).
  • Only 1 in 5 low- and middle-income countries have the necessary data to drive cancer policy (5).

Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs, the latter process is referred to as metastasizing. Metastases are a major cause of death from cancer.

The problem

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. The most common cancers are:

  • Lung (2.09 million cases)
  • Breast (2.09 million cases)
  • Colorectal (1.80 million cases)
  • Prostate (1.28 million cases)
  • Skin cancer (non-melanoma) (1.04 million cases)
  • Stomach (1.03 million cases)

The most common causes of cancer death are cancers of:

  • Lung (1.76 million deaths)
  • Colorectal (862 000 deaths)
  • Stomach (783 000 deaths)
  • Liver (782 000 deaths)
  • Breast (627 000 deaths)

What causes cancer?

Cancer arises from the transformation of normal cells into tumour cells in a multistage process that generally progresses from a pre-cancerous lesion to a malignant tumour. These changes are the result of the interaction between a person's genetic factors and 3 categories of external agents, including:

  • physical carcinogens, such as ultraviolet and ionizing radiation;
  • chemical carcinogens, such as asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant), and arsenic (a drinking water contaminant); and
  • biological carcinogens, such as infections from certain viruses, bacteria, or parasites.

WHO, through its cancer research agency, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), maintains a classification of cancer-causing agents.

Ageing is another fundamental factor for the development of cancer. The incidence of cancer rises dramatically with age, most likely due to a build-up of risks for specific cancers that increase with age. The overall risk accumulation is combined with the tendency for cellular repair mechanisms to be less effective as a person grows older.

Risk factors for cancers

Tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity are major cancer risk factors worldwide and are also the 4 shared risk factors for other noncommunicable diseases.

Some chronic infections are risk factors for cancer and have major relevance in low- and middle-income countries. Approximately 15% of cancers diagnosed in 2012 were attributed to carcinogenic infections, including Helicobacter pylori, Human papillomavirus (HPV), Hepatitis B virus, Hepatitis C virus, and Epstein-Barr virus3.

Hepatitis B and C virus and some types of HPV increase the risk for liver and cervical cancer, respectively. Infection with HIV substantially increases the risk of cancers such as cervical cancer.

Reducing the cancer burden

Between 30–50% of cancers can currently be prevented by avoiding risk factors and implementing existing evidence-based prevention strategies. The cancer burden can also be reduced through early detection of cancer and management of patients who develop cancer. Many cancers have a high chance of cure if diagnosed early and treated adequately.

Modify and avoid risk factors

Modifying or avoiding key risk factors can significantly reduce the burden of cancer. These risk factors include:

  • tobacco use including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
  • being overweight or obese
  • unhealthy diet with low fruit and vegetable intake
  • lack of physical activity
  • alcohol use
  • sexually transmitted HPV-infection
  • infection by hepatitis or other carcinogenic infections
  • ionizing and ultraviolet radiation
  • urban air pollution
  • indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels.

Tobacco use is the single most important risk factor for cancer and is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer-related deaths globally2.

Pursue prevention strategies

To prevent cancer, people may:

  • increase avoidance of the risk factors listed above;
  • vaccinate against HPV and hepatitis B virus;
  • control occupational hazards;
  • reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation;
  • reduce exposure to ionizing radiation (occupational or medical diagnostic imaging).

Vaccination against these HPV and hepatitis B viruses could prevent 1 million cancer cases each year3.

Early detection

Cancer mortality can be reduced if cases are detected and treated early. There are 2 components of early detection:

Early diagnosis

When identified early, cancer is more likely to respond to effective treatment and can result in a greater probability of surviving, less morbidity, and less expensive treatment. Significant improvements can be made in the lives of cancer patients by detecting cancer early and avoiding delays in care.

Early diagnosis consists of 3 steps that must be integrated and provided in a timely manner:

  • awareness and accessing care
  • clinical evaluation, diagnosis and staging
  • access to treatment.

Early diagnosis is relevant in all settings and the majority of cancers. In absence of early diagnosis, patients are diagnosed at late stages when curative treatment may no longer be an option. Programmes can be designed to reduce delays in, and barriers to, care, allowing patients to access treatment in a timely manner.

Screening

Screening aims to identify individuals with abnormalities suggestive of a specific cancer or pre-cancer who have not developed any symptoms and refer them promptly for diagnosis and treatment.

Screening programmes can be effective for select cancer types when appropriate tests are used, implemented effectively, linked to other steps in the screening process and when quality is assured. In general, a screening programme is a far more complex public health intervention compared to early diagnosis.

Examples of screening methods are:

  • visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for cervical cancer in low-income settings;
  • HPV testing for cervical cancer;
  • PAP cytology test for cervical cancer in middle- and high-income settings; and
  • mammography screening for breast cancer in settings with strong or relatively strong health systems.

Treatment

A correct cancer diagnosis is essential for adequate and effective treatment because every cancer type requires a specific treatment regimen that encompasses one or more modalities such as surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. 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 psychosocial support.

Potential for cure among early detectable cancers

Some of the most common cancer types, such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer, and colorectal cancer have high cure rates when detected early and treated according to best practices.

Potential for cure of some other cancers

Some cancer types, even when cancerous cells have traveled to other areas of the body, such as testicular seminoma and leukaemias and lymphomas in children, can have high cure rates if appropriate treatment is provided.

Palliative care

Palliative care is treatment to relieve, rather than cure, symptoms caused by cancer and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Palliative care can help people live more comfortably. It is an urgent humanitarian need for people worldwide with cancer and other chronic fatal diseases and particularly needed in places with a high proportion of patients in advanced stages of cancer where there is little chance of cure.

Relief from physical, psychosocial, and spiritual problems can be achieved in over 90% of advanced cancer patients through palliative care.

Palliative care strategies

Effective public health strategies, comprising of community- and home-based care are essential to provide pain relief and palliative care for patients and their families in low-resource settings.

Improved access to oral morphine is mandatory for the treatment of moderate to severe cancer pain, suffered by over 80% of cancer patients in terminal phase.

WHO response

In 2017, the World Health Assembly passed the resolution Cancer Prevention and Control through an Integrated Approach (WHA70.12) urges governments and WHO to accelerate action to achieve the targets specified in the Global Action Plan and 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development to reduce premature mortality from cancer.

WHO and IARC collaborate with other UN organizations within the UN Interagency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases and partners to:

  • increase political commitment for cancer prevention and control;
  • coordinate and conduct research on the causes of human cancer and the mechanisms of carcinogenesis;
  • monitor the cancer burden (as part of the work of the Global Initiative on Cancer Registries);
  • identify “best buys” and other cost-effective, priority strategies for cancer prevention and control;
  • develop standards and tools to guide the planning and implementation of interventions for prevention, early diagnosis, screening, treatment and palliative and survivorship care including for childhood cancers;
  • strengthen health systems at national and local levels to deliver cure and care for cancer patients including improving access to cancer treatments;
  • set the agenda for cancer prevention and control in the Global Report on Cancer;
  • provide global leadership as well as technical assistance to support governments and their partners build and sustain high-quality cervical cancer control programmes through the UN Global Joint Programme on Cervical Prevention and Cancer;

provide technical assistance for rapid, effective transfer of best practice interventions to countries.

References

(1) Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11
Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013.

(2) GBD 2015 Risk Factors Collaborators. Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, 1990-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet. 2016 Oct; 388 (10053):1659-1724.

(3) Plummer M, de Martel C, Vignat J, Ferlay J, Bray F, Franceschi S. Global burden of cancers attributable to infections in 2012: a synthetic analysis. Lancet Glob Health. 2016 Sep;4(9):e609-16. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30143-7.

(4) Stewart BW, Wild CP, editors. World cancer report 2014
Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014.

(5) Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development. International Agency for Research on Cancer
Lyon: France.

TREATMENT SUPPORT

 Cancer destroys not just the body and mind, but a family’s finance. By the time is it done, it makes sure there is nothing left to build. General health insurance does not help, and even the most comprehensive plans cannot cover for the entire treatment. The logical step would be to get a critical illness cover.

Less than 20% of all Indians are covered under health insurance. Over 80% of Indians are still uninsured, some because they are unaware that they can benefit from government health insurance. 

Here are some government schemes that can help fund your cancer treatment.

1. Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund 

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare offers the Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) under Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi. This is available for patients living below the poverty line.

How to apply : 

  • Download the application here. Fill the form and have it signed by the treating doctor and countersigned by the Medical Superintendent of the Government hospital/institute/Regional Cancer Centre.
  • Submit a Copy of the income certificate.
  • Submit a Copy of the ration card.

List of Regional Cancer Centers under this scheme

  1. Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.
  2. Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata, West Bengal
  3. Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore, Karnataka.
  4. Regional Cancer Institute (WIA), Adyar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  5. Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer, Centre for Cancer Research & Treatment, Cuttack, Orissa.
  6. Regional Cancer Control Society, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
  7. Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.
  8. Indian Rotary Cancer Institute, (AIIMS), New Delhi.
  9. R.S.T. Hospital & Research Centre, Nagpur, Maharashtra.
  10. Pt. J.N.M. Medical College, Raipur, Chhatisgarh.
  11. Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.
  12. Sher-I- Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, Srinagar.
  13. Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Manipur, Imphal.
  14. Govt. Medical College & Associated Hospital, Bakshi Nagar, Jammu.
  15. Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  16. Gujarat Cancer Research Institute, Ahmadabad, Gujarat.
  17. MNJ Institute of Oncology, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
  18. Pondicherry Regional Cancer Society, JIPMER, Pondicherry.
  19. Dr. B.B. Cancer Institute, Guwahati, Assam.
  20. Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  21. Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna, Bihar.
  22. Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Trust & Research Institute (RCC), Bikaner, Rajasthan.
  23. Regional Cancer Centre, Pt. B.D.Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana.
  24. Civil Hospital, Aizawl, Mizoram.
  25. Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow.
  26. Government Arignar Anna Memorial Cancer Hospital, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu.
  27. Cancer Hospital, Tripura, Agartala.

2. The Health Minister’s Discretionary Grants 

Also under The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the HMDG offers up to a maximum of Rs. 50,000 to poor patients in cases where free medical facilities are not available at government hospitals. Only those having an annual family income up to Rs.1.25,000 and below are eligible for financial assistance of up to 70% of the total bill.

How to apply:

  • Download the application here. Fill the form and have it signed by the treating doctor and countersigned by the Medical Superintendent of the Government hospital/institute/Regional Cancer Centre.
  • Submit a Copy of the income certificate.
  • Submit a Copy of the ration c

3. The Central Government Healthcheme (CGHS)

Applicable for retired Central Government employees & dependents, which offers coverage for cancer treatment at approved rates from any hospital, apart from the hospitals set up under CGHS.

How to apply:
Download application here and submit along with proof of eligibility. Check eligibility below:

  • All Central Govt. employees drawing their salary from Central Civil Estimates and their dependent family members residing in CGHS covered areas.
  • Central Govt. Pensioners/family pensioners receiving a pension from central civil estimates and their eligible dependent family members.
  • Sitting and Ex-members of Parliament.
  • Ex-Governors & Lt. Governors.
  • Freedom Fighters.
  • Ex-Vice Presidents.
  • Sitting and Retired Judges of Supreme Court.
  • Retired Judge of High Courts.
  • Journalists accredited with PIB (in Delhi).
  • Employees and pensioners of certain autonomous/statutory bodies which have been extended CGHS facilities in Delhi.
  • Delhi Police Personnel in Delhi only.
  • Railway Board employees
  • Post and Telegraph Department employees.


4. National Health Protection Scheme

An Ayushman Bharat initiative, the National Health Protection Scheme provides coverage up to 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. Head to this page to learn more about this.

5. The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund

Originally intended for victims of natural disasters also provides partial coverage for heart surgeries, kidney transplantation, cancer treatment, and more such treatments.

How to Apply


6. State Illness Assistance Fund

States/UTs (with Legislature) have set up Illness Assistance Fund that offers coverage up to Rs. 1 Lakh for cancer treatment at government hospitals within the state. While some states do not have this scheme, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kerala, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Goa, Gujarat, Sikkim, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Uttarakhand , Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi and Puducherry support it.

How to apply

  • Check if your state offers SIAF
  • Download the application form
  • Submit with BPL card and two photographs at the government hospital.

7. Bonus: The Chief Minister’s Relief Fund 

Under this, states provide financial assistance to the poor for cancer treatment. You can find complete details of the financial assistance available in your state at this link.


Did You Know About The National Policy For Women (Draft)?

Aadhar-linked Health cards provided under the scheme to single, widowed, medially weak and elderly women, can be used to avail subsidized cancer treatment. The policy is still pending approval. Follow this story for future updates. Click here to read about provisions proposed under this draft policy.

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