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India is one of the few countries to be plagued by a dramatic increase in cancer-related disasters, with around 71% of deaths reported between the ages of 30-69. While looking through the latest statistics from cancer accountants as part of a World Cancer Day study, it is shocking that the Indian Council of Medical Research in a report on the Burden of Cancer in India states that the number of people suffering from cancer in India is projected to decrease from 26.7 million in 2021 to 29.8 million in 2025. The regions with the highest incidence rates last year were the North (2,408 per 100,000) and the Northeast (2,177 per 100,000), the report said.
It is estimated that there are 2.25 million cancer cases in India every year, doubling every 10 years. Three-quarters of these cancers are detected at an advanced stage, and the mortality rate is very high due to lack of access to standardized cancer care.
But on a positive note, survival rates for many types of cancer are high in countries with strong health systems, with early detection, quality treatment, and curative care. Even more optimistic are the cancer survival statistics, which report that more than 18 million Americans with a history of cancer are still alive as of January 1, 2022.
Considering the unaffordable costs of diagnosis and treatment, it was reported that recently, a parliamentary group asked the center to provide free cancer treatment to middle-class families through the government-funded health insurance scheme and limit cancer diagnosis and treatment services in government and private hospitals. The parliamentary standing committee on health has also called on the government to take steps to strengthen radiotherapy facilities in the country.
Here, we take a look at some of the Indian startups working in different sectors to make cancer diagnosis, treatment and aftercare easy, accessible and accessible.
Karkinos Healthcare Technologies Kerala State Private Limited: A goal-driven, technology-led oncology platform focused on designing and delivering customized cancer treatment solutions. Led by globally renowned medical professionals and technologists, the company’s mission is to create “cancer centers without walls” with the primary goal of addressing gaps in access or affordability of cancer care. The fundamental principle of Karkinos Health is to democratize cancer care in a way that engages existing healthcare providers, researchers and technologists. Karkinos Healthcare was founded in 2021 by R Venkataramanan.
Nilamai: Bengaluru-based healthcare startup NIRAMAI or Non-Invasive Risk Assessment with Machine Intelligence has developed a radiation-free and non-invasive technology for early breast cancer detection. Based on thermal imaging, this solution is portable, accurate and suitable for women of all ages. Founded by Geetha Manjunath in 2016, the company works with NGOs and government agencies on projects related to breast cancer screening. Among enterprise solutions, it provides management solutions for diagnostic centers and hospitals, working on a revenue share basis, Niramai as and when Thermalytix for breast cancer screening.
Cancer moonshot: It is an AI-based software that generates evidence-based innovative AI personalized treatment decision software. It can capture cancer diagnosis conditions and generate personalized cancer treatment reports for treating cancer patients for better outcomes for various cancer types. Founded in 2017, the Bengaluru-based startup aims to defeat cancer by providing accurate diagnosis, personalized treatment and correct prognostic decisions.
Invictus Oncology: Founded in 2011 by Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar and Dr. Shiladitya Sengupta, Invictus Oncology is a biotechnology company pioneering exciting new cancer solutions, with a particular focus currently on triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The company aims to conduct research using a multidisciplinary approach with the ultimate goal of achieving a paradigm shift in cancer care and developing cancer treatments.
Premix: It’s an innovation-driven company that aims to be a pioneer in health technology. We integrate a multidimensional approach and harness the power of artificial intelligence to develop new technologies in the fields of preventive healthcare and early diagnosis of disease. Most recently, on January 24, 2023, the startup launched OncoVeryx-F, a one-of-a-kind innovative cancer detection blood test capable of detecting early-stage cancer in women with 98% accuracy.
HCAH Tumor Rehabilitation: HCAH is India’s trusted partner for out-of-hospital care, providing nursing, specialty therapy, rehabilitation and recovery services. Founded by Vivek Srivastava, HCAH is a health technology company headquartered in Delhi NCR with a presence in 70 cities across the country. Oncology rehabilitation is a specialized rehabilitation program for individuals who have undergone medical treatment or major surgery for gastrointestinal, abdominal, and other cancers. HCAH Cancer Rehabilitation Services focuses on giving patients the opportunity to live a normal life again and cope with the complications and depressive aftermath of a terrible diagnosis. They provide rehabilitation and support services to patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy as part of their treatment. HCAH understands the side effects of these treatments and provides patients with effective pain management and psychological support, which is crucial for them during this difficult time.