Cancer treatment and care have advanced by leaps and bounds due to evolution of cutting-edge technology. As a result, it is now possible to prevent, detect, treat, and extend life of cancer patients. Despite this progress, many challenges still remain, particularly in the early detection and availability of state-of-the-art treatments for many. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths annually. The most common cancer deaths are related to lung, colon, rectum, liver, stomach, and breast. Around 40 people die from cancer every day in Nepal, thanks to late detection and treatment. This alarming figure highlights the importance of implementing comprehensive and immediate measures to overcome the health crisis. To tackle this issue effectively, it's crucial to grasp the factors behind this surge. This will help in taking appropriate measures to tackle the menace of deadly disease.
Sedentary lifestyles, increasing pollution, unhealthy diets, negligence, and the general prevalence of tobacco use have been identified as major factors responsible for increasing cancer cases. To reverse this lifestyle trend, there is a need for the public to have structured and reliable awareness and outreach programmes. Interventions such as cervical cancer prevention through the HPV vaccine and advocating for hepatitis B vaccination play key roles in controlling the rate of these cancers. The high cost of cancer treatment, particularly for medications and advanced technologies like robotic surgery, worsens the accessibility challenges. This poses a significant barrier to affordable healthcare for cancer patients. Cancer care interventions are available in the country for 99 per cent of cancer patients. However, the lack of access to the latest technology raises concerns about the country's readiness to address this health challenge.
The government is developing the National Cancer Control Strategy 2080–87 to combat cancer and decrease mortality and prevalence rates. However, there are concerns regarding the strategy's effectiveness due to the shortage of vital equipment, including radio therapy machines. Prolonged waiting times for treatment further exacerbate the challenges of delivering timely care. Health experts emphasise the need for awareness and early detection for battling cancer more effectively. Delayed medical attention often hampers recovery chances, but timely hospital visits can save lives. Financial challenges and a lack of awareness create gaps in accessing necessary healthcare for different types of cancer. Despite the significant challenges, the dedication of healthcare professionals and ongoing awareness efforts offer hope in the relentless battle against cancer.
Educational campaign is essential for early diagnosis and treatment access. The government engages health workers and provides financial aid through programmes like the Indigent Citizen Drug Treatment Fund. Its continuous efforts to reduce tobacco use and vaccination drive to prevent cervical cancer demonstrates a commitment for comprehensive healthcare. However, there is a long way to go to ensure early diagnosis and access to treatment. A comprehensive approach is necessary to tackle various types of cancer cases, focusing on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Collaboration among individuals, healthcare professionals, and the government is vital in fighting this disease. Lifestyle changes, regular exercise, access to safe food items, and accessible treatments are essential. It's crucial to bridge the care gap and ensure no one is left behind in the fight against cancer.