Transforming India’s approach to cancer care

In India, a country with a vast population and a diverse socio-economic fabric, healthcare remains fraught with challenges including disparities in access. These socio-economic disparities are deep, and they influence health outcomes. It is imperative to bridge these gaps amid the ongoing epidemiological, nutritional and demographic transitions that are bringing about massive challenges in healthcare. Cancer, for example, has emerged as a significant cause of mortality across the country. The impact of cancer in India transcends health and affects the economic and social spheres of people’s lives. A key aspect of this challenge is the financial burden borne by families dealing with the illness: According to the latest available data from 2018, out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditure accounts for over 50 percent of total health spending. This financial burden is exacerbated by inequities in access to and the affordability of cancer treatment.