BENGALURU: Increase in smartphone use and penetration of Internet to the remotest corner of the state has increased the chances of early diagnosis of cancer, but there still exist delays in getting first line treatment.
Hashima Khatoon, a patient visiting Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology (KMIO) from Akki-Alur, a village in Haveri district, said, “I was diagnosed with breast cancer, after an auxiliary nursing midwife sent my symptoms via her smartphone to an oncologist. When it was diagnosed, the cancer was in the first stage but by the time I got treatment, it was already in the later phase of the second stage.”
The list of such patients is long. The diagnosis rates for cancer has improved with assistance from android applications, but the disparity still lies in providing early intervention and treatment.
Dr Ibrahim Nagnoor, Department of Community Oncology, KMIO, said, “Over a period of time and with advent of technology, the detection of cancer at early stages has improved. At the same time, we have been setting up awareness camps at far-flung rural areas to spread awareness among people about cancer, but still the conversion to treatment is not fast.”
Experts at KMIO said that till date around 70-80 per cent of patients with cancer report to hospitals at a late stage. Despite all the efforts put in by medical practitioners, this is a grey area in treatment of cancer as treating cancer at later stages is really difficult.
The expert lay the onus of delay in treatment over the increasing load of patients, especially from the lower socio-economic strata who throng the government and aided hospitals to get cheap treatment. Currently, the incidences of breast cancer and oral cancer has surged in the state.
Dr Ibrahim adds that by imparting training and proper guidance to health workers, the government has cleared the first phase where detection of cancer is happening at earlier stages.
But a look at the queue and waitlist at most government hospitals presents a grim picture.
Shyam Kumar, a cancer patient from Odisha, said that it took him over a month’s time to get all the tests done due to the long delays. By the time his treatment started, he was already in an advanced stage four of lung cancer, but he was diagnosed when he was in early phases of stage two.