National Cancer Awareness Day & How To Fund Your Cancer Treatment: A Quick Overview
By: Shrishaila, Diamond
Published On: November 06, 2021
For decades together, cancer has tormented the physical and mental health of patients as well as their families worldwide. While Covid-19 left a disastrous impact on public healthcare systems and world economies in its wake, it also created new challenges for cancer care in India. The lockdown made cancer patients apprehensive about stepping out of their homes for seeking medical consultation, which led to delayed diagnosis and lack of access to timely treatment.
According to an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) (1) report, over 17.3 lakh new cases of cancer and around 8.8 lakh deaths due to cancer were recorded in India in 2020.
The non-communicable disease is one of the most prevalent critical illnesses with ICMR, 2020 also revealing that it (cancer) was projected to affect 1.5 million Indians by 2025. A greater cancer incidence is known to usually affect the senior population in India. However, cancer is slowly becoming prevalent among young adults as well, which is an extremely worrisome trend.
To raise awareness around cancer as a threat to the nation - National Cancer Awareness Day that is November 7th 2021 is celebrated across the country! Thankfully, due to advancements in the field of medicine, cancer is indeed curable and can be controlled if diagnosed early and targeted with ample care. Caring for cancer can be an out of the pocket expense but in this read, you will find a way to treat cancer without compromising your financial future! But first, let us dive into the various treatment options for cancer.
Therapies for cancer
Targeted therapy is one of the treatments used for cancer. It is not that common but over the years it has been used to treat certain breast cancers, lung, head and neck cancers, prostate cancers and so on. Here is everything you need to know about targeted therapy:
Targeted therapy is a type of cancer therapy that uses drugs to block the growth and spread of cancer by destroying cancer cells without any effect on the normal cells.
Targeted therapy is a foundation of precision medicine, a type of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes and proteins to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.
It is used by itself or in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation therapy.
They cost around anything between INR 15 lakhs and INR 25 lakhs depending on the number of cycles and types of medicines or drugs used.
How is targeted therapy different from chemotherapy?
It is a form of radiation therapy that uses energy from positively charged particles called protons. A machine sends these particles through your skin and into the tumor and the area around it. These protons destroy cancer cells.
Why is there an increase in patients resorting to proton therapy?
Proton therapy is known to have fewer side effects than other traditional radiation therapies.
It delivers a high dose to a specific area which minimizes damage to other healthy skin tissues of patients, unlike X-rays which tend to affect healthy tissues.
Is proton therapy available in India?
Yes, it is available. In 2019, India became the 16th country to launch proton therapy for the treatment of cancer. Globally there are only 120 proton beam therapy machines, one of which is available at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai.
The proton therapy treatment will soon be made available at Tata Memorial Centre, Kharghar by mid-2021. (Source: The Free Press Journal)
Cancer costs in India
The entire proton therapy cost in India is around Rs 25-30 lakh per patient. It also depends on the cycles of treatment. The type and stage of cancer also affect the overall cost of the treatment. This doesn’t include other costs like medicines, hospital charges, pre/post-radiation therapy tests and treatment and other additional treatments.
India is known to offer affordable packages for proton therapy treatment.
The cost for proton therapy at some centres in Europe is known to cost as much as Rs 5 crore according to Dr Prathap C Reddy, chairman, Apollo Hospitals. (Source: Times of India)
‘What are some other treatments for cancer?
Treatments depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is. The most common treatments are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and so on. All of these treatments come with their own side effects and may be difficult for most people to afford.
Crowdfunding - A popular choice for cancer treatments
Consider fundraising as a viable solution to bear the costs of cancer treatments. The average cost for cancer treatment is approximately INR 5 lakhs and treatments like bone marrow transplant, proton therapy and chemotherapy usually cross INR 25 lakhs while other treatments such as CAR-T cell therapy can go up to crores. This excludes other expenses that have to be handled by the patient. Other than the basic house expenses, the treatment bills, medication, and doctor’s visits are the additional bills that become difficult for a person to bear. The challenge of being a cancer patient doesn’t end with the treatment. Because of the weakness their body goes through, it becomes difficult for many patients to continue in high functioning work cultures.
Crowdfunding for cancer can ease the burden for the patient as well as the family going through this difficult time together. Here is where you can start your fundraiser.
What are the advantages of crowdfunding platforms in India?
Easy to Use: Simply ‘start a fundraiser,’ on your chosen crowdfunding platform
Allows You to Share Your Story: Crowdfunding platforms offer you a centralized path to share your story, reach people and connect with them.
No Restrictions or Limits: Crowdfunding allows you to get financial help for cancer patients in India at any time during the day or night.
The Cost: An individual in need of medical funds can start a fundraiser in no time. Crowdfunding platforms like ImpactGuru allow you to raise your required goal amount with NO upper limit.
Flexibility And Convenience: As for cancer, health insurance cost is subjective to the treatment required. Age is also a huge factor considering the increasing health complications as people grow older. With crowdfunding, this is not the case.
Cancer crowdfunding can help you avert many emotional and financial challenges.
The Battles Won With The Help Of Cancer Crowdfunding
An increasing number of patients with various forms of cancer have begun using crowdfunding as a solution to pay for expensive hospital treatment. Here are a few success stories to help to let you know the power of crowdfunding.
In June 2020, Krish was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia with persistent fever and a body full of rashes. As his condition worsened day by day, the doctors informed his father that Krish needed a bone marrow transplant worth Rs 26 lakh to survive with an income of Rs 200 per day, his father Parveen was in shambles. A ray of hope appeared when they started a fundraiser to save their little boy and received overwhelming support from thousands of donors. 2000 people shared Krish’s fundraiser to finally help him undergo a transplant.
2092 donors of ImpactGuru helped Shriya receive proton therapy to fight a brain tumor
Shriya’s diagnosis revealed that she needed chemotherapy for her brain tumor. According to her medical diagnosis, she required 50 sessions of proton therapy. The amount was too high for the sessions, but there was nothing that Shriya’s parents wouldn’t do to save their daughter. So when they read about crowdfunding on a pamphlet, they took it as a miraculous sign and quickly started a fundraiser on ImpactGuru.
Shriya's story was heard by thousands of people, with support pouring in from all sides. The fundraiser raised about INR 33.74 lakh with the help of 2920 humble donors! Shriya has received the proton therapy and her tumor is now gone.
So many people on ImpactGuru have gotten a second chance at life with the help of generous donors around the world. You can be the next impact guru by doing as little as sharing a critical fundraiser on your social media handles.
To browse fundraisers, visit here.