India spent nearly Rs 2,386 cr in 2020 on oral cancer treatment: Study

New Delhi : India has approximately spent an amount of Rs 2,386 crores in 2020 for the treatment of oral cancer, a new study by Tata Memorial Centre said on Sunday.

“India spent approximately Rs. 2,386 crores in 2020 on oral cancer treatment, paid for by insurance schemes, government and private sector spending, out of pocket payments and charitable donations or a combination of these,” it said.

A Tata Memorial Centre team, headed by Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi was set out to conduct a cost of illness analysis that would provide invaluable information for policy makers that make appropriate allocation of resources towards cancer.

Dr Arjun Singh, Research Fellow at Tata Memorial Hospital and the lead author of the study said that the unit cost of treating advanced stages (Rs. 2,02,892/- ) was found to be 42% greater than early stages (Rs. 1,17,135/-).

At the same time, there was an average reduction of 11 per cent in the unit costs, as socioeconomic status increased. Medical equipment accounted for 97.8 per cent of capital costs, with the highest contributor being the radiology services that included CT, MRI and PET scan.

Variable costs that included consumables for surgery in advanced stages were 1.4 times higher than early stages. With the addition of additional chemo and radiotherapy to surgery, the average cost of treatment increased by 44.6 per cent.

Notably, this was the first such study in India and among a handful globally, whose estimates were calculated, utilizing a bottom-up approach where data was collected prospectively for each service as it was used.

Almost all oral cancers are caused by some form of tobacco and area nut use, either direct or as a secondhand intake. It is very important for our country to take adequate measures to curb this menace and mitigate the economic burden caused by just one of the hundreds of diseases caused by tobacco consumption.

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