A leading oncologist warns that India is at risk of a surge of chronic diseases like cancer due to factors such as globalization, a growing economy, an aging population, and changes in lifestyle. The expert emphasizes the need for India to adopt technology-driven medical methods to effectively prevent health crises.
According to Dr. Jame Abraham, Chairman of the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, six trends will significantly transform cancer care in the 21st century. These include cancer vaccines for prevention and treatment, expansion of Artificial Intelligence and digital technology for data analysis, liquid biopsy for cancer diagnosis, genomic profiling, advancements in gene editing technologies, and the next generation of immunotherapies and CAR T cell therapies. Dr. Abraham also suggests that digital technology and telehealth will help to bridge the gap between patients and specialists, allowing for better access to expert care in remote and rural areas where a large portion of the population lives.
Dr. Abraham notes that while these new technologies have the potential to revolutionize cancer care, India’s main challenge will be ensuring affordability and accessibility for millions of its citizens. He also reiterates his warning that India is at risk of a surge of chronic diseases such as cancer due to globalization, a growing economy, an aging population, and changes in lifestyle.
According to estimates from Globocan, the number of cancer cases worldwide is expected to rise 47% from 2020 to 28.4 million in 2040, as a result of demographic changes and increasing risk factors associated with globalization and a growing economy. In 2020, 19.3 million new cancer cases and nearly 10 million cancer deaths were reported globally. Female breast cancer has surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer, while lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death, with an estimated 1.8 million deaths (18%).
Dr. Abraham, an oncologist, believes that cancer vaccines are a promising area of research with the potential to immunize people against various types of cancer. He also notes that AI-assisted technologies can help radiologists and pathologists to be more efficient and accurate in detecting variations in patterns from normal to abnormal in biopsies. He also emphasizes the importance of genetic profiling or testing at an early age to detect abnormal genes and find breast and colon cancers in their earliest stages.
He also points out that liquid biopsy technologies can help detect cancer from a drop of blood before it can be detected by a scan or manifests as a lump or ulceration. He also mentions that gene editing holds promise for treating cancer and other diseases, and that immunotherapies and CAR T cell therapy have resulted in the complete disappearance of tumors in several cases.
However, Dr. Abraham also cautions that even as new technologies are developed to prevent and treat cancer, attention must also be paid to cancer prevention. He emphasizes the importance of policies to control tobacco and alcohol use as a national priority.