Obstacles in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer

January 10th, 2019


Obstacles in Cancer treatment in India

Cancer is the 2nd most common cause of death in the world, with over 8.93 million deaths in 2016. Survival rates can be as high as 80%, however in India they are only between 30-40%, implying a significant proportion of avoidable deaths.

Over 50% of the cancer patients in India are diagnosed in advanced stages reducing survival

Prevalence of cancer in India

To understand this phenomenon, Camomile Healthcare undertook an in-depth study on the journey of 500 cancer patients, across the nation’s 8 major cancer institutes. Some insights from the study are shared below

India has 4.5 times more delay than global best practices

Average time in cancer diagnosis as compared to global best practices


The typical phases in the journey of a cancer patient are shown in the adjacent figure

Phases in a patient's cancer journey


The most prevalent cancers in India and the corresponding delays identified are shown in the adjacent figure

Prominent cancer sites


Low awareness of cancer symptoms snowballs the delay by 3 times

More than 90% of the patients complained about an acute lack of diagnostic infrastructure
Most cancer diagnosis and treatment facilities are centered around urban areas and are already running on full capacity leading to long waiting times.

More than 50% of the patients are affected by unclear referral pathways
Establishing clear referral protocols and follow up mechanisms in line with global standards is the need of the hour.

Training primary care physicians on cancer symptoms can reduce 60% of the delay
The stage wise symptoms for most prevalent cancers have also been identified by the study. These can be used to educate primary care physicians.