Dr Subhojit Dey, Founder CEO, NONCO, gives an insight on the need to create more awareness on cancer care
World Cancer Day has arrived and we are again facing the astounding numbers related to cancer that plague India. Accounting for 8.3 per cent of all deaths, cancer has been rapidly rising (at an average of 1.6 per cent per year) in its contribution to deaths in India. From seventh rank in 1990, cancer has risen to fourth rank as a cause of death in 2016 (in 25 years) [GBD Compare India – https://gbd2016.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/india].
Among cancers, breast and cervical cancer are the two biggest cancers of India and of Indian women, accounting for a total of 1,55,000 and 99,000 new cases each year. They also cause 80,000 and 45,000 deaths respectively each year [GBD Compare India]. This high (~50% death ratio) is due to the fact that there are no easily accessible screening/early detection methods for these cancers in India. This results in more than 70 per cent women in India reaching a doctor at a late stage of cancer (stages 3 and 4) when very little can be done to save them. This needs to change.
The theme for this year’s World Cancer Day 2019 is “I am and I will”. This marks a three-year campaign that will empower and ask for a personal pledge from people to help reduce cancer’s impact. In order to assist and empower women in India, and to address the issue of lack of awareness/screening/early detection, I have recently founded an enterprise called NONCO (or NO + ONCO or No Cancer) which will begin its operations in the week of World Cancer Day.
The aim of NONCO is to save lives by providing affordable and accessible ways to screen breast and cervix using latest methods. In addition, we will also provide HPV vaccination and BRCA gene testing apart from access to genetic counselling and a cancer helpline. We are beginning in camp mode currently but we plan to begin home visits soon. Any woman can book an appointment with us through our app (Nonco app on Android and iOS) or website (www.nonco.in) after which a trained nurse or Noncer (Pr: Nonker) will visit the woman and provide the given services in the safety and privacy of one’s home.
Our first operations are beginning in Gurgaon for now but we plan to spread to most cities of India in the next five years. We hope to create an ecosystem where we provide end-to-end support to people regarding cancer, from prevention to palliative care in coming days. This World Cancer Day NONCO has pledged that “it is” dedicated and “it will” improve the conditions related to cancer in India. With that resolve NONCO will become accessible in the week of February 4. We will hold camps around Delhi-NCR to begin with and soon we can be accessed in home visit mode as well. We look forward to reducing the scourge of cancer in India.