Navigating Cancer Treatment in India

Health 03 Feb 2024


Cancer is a leading cause of death globally, accounting for approximately 10 million deaths in 2020, or nearly one in six deaths. The most common cancers that are prevalent are breast, lung, colon, rectum, and prostate cancers. The cancer burden continues to grow worldwide, exerting tremendous physical, emotional, and financial strain on individuals, families, communities, and health systems. 


Men are most likely to develop lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancers, whereas women are more likely to develop breast, colorectal, lung, cervical, and thyroid cancers.


In India, there are various cancer treatments available, each tailored to address a particular kind of cancer. While some treatments are a little pricey, many are really inexpensive. Cancer treatment refers to the set of medical procedures that are used to treat, cure, manage, or lessen the symptoms of any kind of cancer. 


These procedures may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, pharmaceutical therapy, or surgery. Cancer treatment can eliminate, destroy, or harm the cancer cells in a particular part of the body with the use of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. 


Cyberknife surgery is a non-invasive and pain-free radiation machine that has no side effects and is widely available in India. On top of that, Proton Beam Therapy in India is also available which is present only in a select few countries.


Cancer Treatments in India


The several cancer treatments involved are as follows: 


  1. Surgery– A surgical procedure can be used to diagnose cancer. Most of the time, removing a tiny sample of tissue and testing it is the only way to determine whether a person has cancer and what kind of cancer it is. The diagnosis is made by performing various laboratory tests on the material or by using a microscope to examine cells from it. We refer to this process as a biopsy. Surgical biopsies are the term commonly used to describe biopsies obtained during surgery. 

  2. Chemotherapy– Any medication used to treat any ailment is referred to as chemotherapy. However, most people associate the term “chemo” with medications used to treat cancer. It’s critical to understand that not all cancer medications and treatments function in the same manner. In the past, classic or standard chemotherapy was the only type of medication that could treat cancer; but, today, a wide variety of medications can be used to treat cancer. While conventional chemotherapy remains the gold standard for treating many cancers, alternative types of medications may be more effective.

  3. Radiation Therapy– Little breaks in the DNA inside of cells are how radiation acts. These pauses prevent the growth and division of cancer cells, ultimately leading to their demise. Radiation can also harm neighboring normal cells, although the majority of them recover and carry on as usual. Radiation therapy is typically a local treatment, but chemotherapy and other oral or injectable treatments typically expose the entire body to chemicals that fight cancer. This indicates that it primarily targets and affects the area of the body that requires medical attention. Radiation therapy is designed to destroy cancer cells while causing the least amount of damage to neighboring healthy cells.

  4. Targeted Therapy– Targeted therapy is an important type of cancer treatment. Technically, targeted treatment medications are classified as chemotherapy, much like other medications used to treat cancer. Targeted therapy medications, however, function differently from conventional or regular chemotherapy (chemo) medications. Drugs that are targeted specifically target some of the alterations that distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells. 

  5. Immunotherapy– All of the chemicals that are typically present in the body are monitored by the immune system. The immune system becomes alert to any novel material that it does not identify and launches an attack on it. In the treatment of some cancers, immunotherapy has grown in importance. New methods of interacting with the immune system are being found at a rapid rate, and new immunotherapy treatments are being tested and authorized.


Besides these, there is a well-recognized treatment as well such as proton beam therapy that is really helpful for cancer treatment. 


A form of radiation therapy called proton therapy makes use of protons as opposed to X-rays. Radiation therapy is administered painlessly to treat some cancer types. Although proton therapy is a promising new cancer treatment, research is still needed to determine whether it is superior to conventional radiation therapy. Clinical trials are being conducted to see how it compares. Proton therapy typically has fewer adverse effects than other forms of radiation therapy. This is due to the fact that it causes less harm to surrounding tissue and may be directed more precisely at the tumor.

Proton therapy is often administered in an outpatient setting, with patients visiting the facility for each appointment and leaving to go home afterward. The kind and stage of the condition determine how many treatment sessions are needed.


Proton therapy may be administered by physicians in one to five proton beam treatments. They typically administer fewer treatments with higher daily radiation doses. This is typically called stereotactic body radiotherapy. It’s commonly referred to as radiosurgery when a patient receives a single, high radiation dosage.


Key Takeaway


Over the years, India has achieved great progress in the treatment of cancer. The nation is home to an expanding network of cutting-edge cancer treatment centers with highly skilled medical staff and cutting-edge equipment.

Several hospitals and specialized cancer centers across India offer a wide range of treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. Moreover, advancements in precision medicine and personalized treatment approaches are becoming more accessible.