September 18, 2023: Shri Dinesh Gundu Rao, Hon’ble Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka, unveiled a comprehensive Nine-Target strategy as part of the Bengaluru-Declaration of FICCI Cancer Care Task Force. This initiative is dedicated to significantly reducing premature deaths caused by cancer, improving the quality of life as well as elevating cancer survival rates in the State.
The event was graced by Shri. U T Khader Fareed, Hon’ble Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly , Shri Dinesh Gundu Rao, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka, Mr. Anil Kumar T K IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka, Mr Raj Gore, Co-Chair, FICCI Task Force Cancer Care and CEO, Healthcare Global Enterprises Limited (HCG), Ms Srimayee Chakraborty, Partner-Healthcare, EY Business Consulting, India , Mr D Randeep, Commissioner, Health and Family Welfare Services, Government of Karnataka, Dr Ritaz Basha, Registrar, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka and Mr R Ramesh Babu of the State Government of Andhra Pradesh and Dr. Vishal Rao, Group Director for Head & Neck Surgical Oncology and Robotic Surgery at HCG Cancer Centre, Bengaluru were also present on the occasion.
Significant recommendations were shared by Dr V Lokesh, Director, Kidwai Institute, Bangalore; Dr Rakesh Mittal, Oncologist, Member of Management Committee, Indian Cancer Society, Karnataka; Mr Vineet Gupta, FICCI Task Force on Cancer Care & Director-Government Affairs, Varian Medical Systems International India; Ms Aditi Mehta, Category Lead, Oncology, Pfizer India and others.
The Minister addressed the Regional Roundtable- ‘Road Map for Making Cancer Care Affordable and Accessible in India’, organised by FICCI, jointly with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, in association with HCG Hospitals. Shri Gundu Rao expressed that “number of increasing cancer incidences is a worrying fact. Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases adversely affecting both patients and their families, as they not only undergo financial repurcussions because of the expensive treatment but psychological as well. This is something that needs to be looked into on priority”.
Hon’ble Minister apprised the gathering that, “Karnataka is a progressive State, has been a leader in the National Cancer Grid and has been partnering with ICMR and NCDIR to create a comprehensive cancer registry as well as with industry like HCG Cancer Hospital for a comprehensive cancer care program”. He suggested, “we all need to collaborate to enhance early detection and screening by bringing cancer diagnosis to doorstep, both in urban and rural areas”. He also urged everyone to work towards reducing the intake of tobacco and carcinogenic food in our diets.
Mr Raj Gore, Co-Chair, FICCI Task Force Cancer Care and CEO, Healthcare Global Enterprises Limited (HCG) shared, “the war with the pandemic might have waned, but we are still far away from winning the war with one of the most dreaded diseases, Cancer. No other disease is comparable in its devastating impact on the life of patients as cancer. India already ranks 3rd after China and US in new cancer cases reported. In the last year alone, more than 8 lakh Indians were estimated to have lost their lives to this deadly disease. Karnataka is one of the first states to establish a cancer control committee by the government of Karnataka. It’s also among the first states to declare cancer as a notifiable disease. Now it’s time to join forces for all stakeholders to make coordinated efforts to mitigate and control this looming cancer epidemic.
The Roundtable was attended by various experts from the oncology sector, including senior clinicians, hospital administrators, diagnostics, medtech, health-tech and pharma companies as well as civil society and Start-ups.
The FICCI Cancer Care Task Force also requested the Government of Karnataka to provide emphasis on the below key focus areas to improve the status of cancer care in the State-
Drive screening coverage for cervical, breast and oral cancers in a significant manner. Also embed a robust gatekeeping and referral pathway for positive screened patients
Focus on increasing access to comprehensive cancer care facilities including medical, surgical and radiation oncology
Expand coverage under the Ayushman Bharat- Arogya Karnataka scheme to also include advanced treatment options
Evaluate the creation of State Level Advisory Body to enable implementation of Standardised Treatment Protocols and eligibility criteria for empanelment of hospitals to provide cancer care under AB-ArK scheme
Focus on creating mass awareness about risk factors (beyond tobacco use), prevention, symptoms, options for diagnosis and treatment.
Earlier, the FICCI-EY Report 2022, developed under FICCI Task Force on Cancer Care Infrastructure highlighted that it is imperative that the country focuses on effective prevention, targeted screening, and large-scale awareness as the primary response to addressing the disease burden by avoiding the unnecessary stigma attached to cancer.