ibnlive » Health

Feb 04, 2011 at 12:16pm IST

New therapy raises hope for cancer patients

New Delhi: It's World Cancer Day on Friday, but the grim news is one in three persons is likely to be affected by cancer by 2020.

Forty four-year old Aruna Tyagi's life fell apart when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2006. She underwent various treatments.

"I underwent an operation, took chemotherapy, radiation and then doctors offered me this therapy," said Tyagi.

She agreed to an experimental therapy called dendritic cell treatment - that is still in the clinical trials phase. Dendritic Cell Therapy works on the principle of active vaccine which is made from patient's blood. The therapy has been there for three years, yet isn't offered to all patients, since larger trials are needed in India.

"If you excite the immune system of the body and stimulate it to produce dendritic cells and introduce it into the body in the form of vaccine over frequent intervals of time, these cells attack them and kill them," said Apollo Hospital Surgical Oncologist Dr Sameer Kaul.

Tyagi has not shown any signs of cancer in three years - and doctors are optimistic this form of treatment will work for other cancers as well.

India will see a 20 per cent growth in cancer cases every year from 2020 according to World Health Organisation.

According to the Tata Memorial Centre, tobacco-related cancer which includes both smoking and non-smoking constitutes 50 per cent of the cancer cases in the country. Among women, there is an alarming rise in breast and ovarian cancers while uterine cervical cancer cases have come down drastically.

While in men, it is lung cancer which is on the rise and is a major killer, whereas stomach and prostrate cancers - have shown a downward trend. Prevention and early detection are the keys to survival.