The cancer care platform will offer free cancer consultations below age of 14
Onco.com, an online cancer care platform, organised an event in Bengaluru on ‘Child cancer: Saving the Lil’ Ones.’ The event was addressed by co founders Rashie Jain and Dr Amit Jotwani. The cancer care platform aims to provide free cancer consultations for all patients below the age of 14.
Children diagnosed with cancer accounts for 3-5 per cent of all cancer cases in India. The country hosts a fifth of all childhood cancer patients in the world. As many as 50,000 children get affected by cancer every year in the country and it is growing by 1.5 per cent annually.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Jain says, “Our aim is to create awareness about the disease and also educate patients on the impact of proper care during treatment.” She mentioned that the company has also served the African and South Asian markets. Moreover, there are plans to establish doctors network in those places as well. Presently, the providing online consultation and assisting patients to find a right doctors in India.
DrJotwani encouraged patients to enrol themselves for clinical trials, which will help the community to get more advanced research-driven treatment options.
Dr Jotwani said that children have a better chance to get cured from cancer as they are more responsive to treatment. In developed nations, the cure rate for childhood cancer is 80 per cent. This plunges to just 40 per cent in developing nations like India. The results vary within the country where metros cities and states with better healthcare facilities have better cure rates. Incidences of childhood cancer in India is quite low compared to the total number of adult patients. Because of this, the infrastructure to treat child cancer patients is lacking in the country, even though it requires more intensive care and monitoring than adult patients. There are not enough centres which provide specialised treatment to child cancer patients. This adversely affects the quality of childhood cancer care, eventually leading to poorer cure rates.
Pointing about the various myths and challenges related to childhood cancer, Jain said, “The most common myth is that cancer doesn’t affect children and it is a disease of old age. This leads to a delay in diagnosis, which makes it difficult to cure. People needs to be educated on the fact that cancer can affect anyone from a newborn to an elderly person.”
She added, “The government should set up well-equipped treatment centres for children with facilities for advanced treatment, as well as provide research and training of specialists. Dedicated funds should be allocated under government insurance schemes, as children require much more intensive care than adults.”
The objective of Onco.com is to create awareness about the available treatment methods for different type of cancers for children. The company has more than 1000 specialist onco-paediatricians in its network for assisting patients with the right information. Besides, it has also tied up with three onco-paediatricians in the US and plans to add more specialist doctors to the network in near future. There are plans to reach the rural markets as well.
Till now, Onco.com has served more than 250 child cancer patients and gets five to eight treatment guidance requests every month. The incidence of child cancer patients in India ranges between 80 and 260 per million. As per different patient registries, boys get more affected than girls and the commonest cancer in children are related to the blood and brain.
The company is also developing a technology platform for patients and doctors to get a better understanding about the standard protocols for different cancers.