Message of Shri Pankaj R. Patel, Vice President & Executive Chairman, GCS & Chairman, GCRI
Over the last fifty years, the Gujarat Cancer Society has been leading the fight against cancer. What began as a thoughtful, socially responsible gesture in 1961 has today touched millions of lives, offering comprehensive cancer treatment and care.
We all live in the hope that one day the world would be cancer-free. Indeed, we have made rapid strides in treating cancer and lives are being saved every second, every day. Inspite of this, the reality that we face today is a sobering one. The cancer incidence is on a steady rise. According to the most recent edition of the World Health Organization’s World Cancer Report, the global cancer burden doubled in the last thirty years and is estimated to nearly triple by 2030. A report of the Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that by year 2020, there will be a frightening 16.8 mn new cancer cases annually, worldwide. By 2030, the developing world is expected to bear 70% of the global cancer burden.
More than 2.5 mn people in India are estimated to be suffering from cancer. Last year, there were about 1 mn new cancer patients detected in the country. Nearly 55 percent of cancers cases can be prevented if they are detected at an early stage. Unfortunately, almost 65 percent of cancers are only detected in the third and fourth stages.
Cost-effective cancer prevention and control is therefore a major challenge. It is also important that different stakeholders come together in this fight for prevention, screening and early diagnosis, healthcare, health information, and research. GCS in a collaborative effort has been doubling up its efforts in every sphere – cancer prevention and cancer screening, cancer treatment, research and education. At every step of the way we have been supported by the Government of Gujarat and are grateful for this.
It’s a war against cancer on many fronts beginning with the way we think. The question that we continuously ask ourselves is : Can we think of newer ways to make people aware about cancer ? Can we reach out to the community in newer ways to prevent the disease ? Can we detect the disease early so we can save lives ? Can we look at newer therapies and treatment that can lessen the suffering ? Can we look at newer approaches through research that can promise a cure ? We shape our responses to these questions through our ongoing efforts at GCS.
While journey of fifty years is certainly a milestone, it’s the future and our mission to reduce the burden of the disease in the coming years, which is more compelling. We are committed to take all those steps that can prevent cancer and above all to make our world cancer-free. With the advances in cancer research and medicine, we are closer now to a cure than ever before. Our latest initiative of setting up the new medical college and research institute is yet another step towards our mission. We remain united in our efforts, as we march on in this war against cancer.