The rising number of cases of cancer, especially among women, is a major challenge in the healthcare sector for the Indian government, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Anupriya Patel said here on Thursday in the presence of actress and cancer crusader Lisa Ray.
"According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), cancer figures among the leading causes of mortality across the world. And it is very sad to say that the number of cases is rising and in the next two decades, it will be very alarming," said Patel at the launch of a nationwide health initiative with a theme 'Nurturing the Nurturer', amidst an audience that included cancer survivors, doctors and champions of the cause like model-actress Lisa Ray.
The initiative is a step forward by Ficci Ladies Organisation (FLO) in partnership with Apollo Hospitals Group with focus to sensitize women about importance of screening for various types of women-specific cancers, including breast, cervix, ovary, gall bladder, lung, thyroid and mouth.
"In India, it is estimated that there are about 3.8 million (cancer patients) at any given point of time and the incidence of new cases is 14.5 lakh per year. It's a huge figure. What's sad is that data collected shows that more number of women are diagnosed with cancer than men."
Patel emphasised that the government is committed to provide better healthcare facilities, especially to women, to achieve the goal of "healthy women, healthy household, healthy family, healthy India".
Lisa, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma -- a type of incurable cancer -- said cancer has helped her to look at the positive side of life.
"I was open about my cancer diagnosis. It did make me very nervous before making it public because I didn't know how people would react. But thankfully, I received great support," Lisa said, urging people to spread awareness about cancer and its treatment.