Painful Wait is a research report to study the various difficulties faced by cancer patients in India

Dr Sunil Udgire, Dr Madhava, Dr Madhu, Susan Josi, Dr Jayanthi Thumsi, Dr. Sachin Jadhav, Mr. Thomas Mathew, COO, Gleneagles Global Hospitals at the Cancer research report unveiling by BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals

Report Highlights:

  • More than 50% respondents highlighted that GPs were not very effective in gauging the symptoms.
  • Poor access to onco-physicians to confirm diagnosis was the prime difficulty according to 26% respondents.
  • All the respondents had to perform multiple tests repeatedly while consulting different oncologists at different centers causing a delay according to 39% respondents.
  • In the south, on an average the patients had visited 2.2 doctors before starting the treatment
  • In the south, largely radiotherapy followed by Chemotherapy is the first step towards cancer treatment
  • Key concerns highlighted by the patients in the journey are costly treatment options, hospitals not being geared to have all services under one roof, numerous tests performed at different centers and lack of emotional counselling through the cancer journey.

Bangalore, India, February 4, 2017: Gleneagles Global Hospitals today released its ‘Painful Wait’ report that aims at highlighting the difficulties faced by cancer patients during their journey from diagnosis to treatment and thereby identify the key ‘Painful Wait’ areas. This is a national level study commissioned by Gleneagles Global Hospitals in collaboration with CUBEX (a division of Sorento Healthcare).

The main Painful Wait areas that have been identified include initial symptom recognition and diagnosis, access to cancer diagnostic tests, multiple diagnostic tests, time taken from diagnosis to confirmation, poor access to oncologists, initiation of treatment, satisfaction with hospitals and cost of treatment.

In the area of initial symptom recognition, there is a stark contradiction in the perceived ability of family physicians to understand the symptoms. Respondents in the south (97%) said their family physicians were effective in understanding the symptoms. However, respondents in East (71%), West (69%) and North (47%) opined that their family physicians could not gauge the signs of cancer to correctly route them to specialist. Delay in effectively gauging the signs of cancer at the primary care level delays timely diagnosis and treatment. Hence, the ability of the family physician to gauge early signs of cancer and patient awareness is crucial reported the study.

  • In the south, 77% respondents based their decision on a specialist on their family physician’s recommendation

While, 70% respondents got confirmation of diagnosis within 3 months, in west and south the value is low. This indicates the need for faster access to specialized tests and the availability of timely tests results and accurate interpretation to initiate treatment.

Multiple diagnostic tests were another area of concern. About 7 out of every 10 respondents had to perform several tests on visiting different oncologists. Every respondent in the south (100%) and 70% from the north had to re-do the tests. Poor access to oncologists is a key concern of diagnosis (49%). Faster access to cancer specialists will avoid repeated/multiple tests and agony of patients, commented the study.

  • In the south, 61% respondents reported that the entire process of diagnosis requiring multiple level tests was the prominent reason causing delay in treatment
  • In the south, only 58% respondents received a confirmed diagnosis within 3 months, 32% respondents within 3-6 months and 11% respondents took over 6 months

87% of the patients in the south acknowledged that there is no delay in commencement of treatment. Those respondents who had to suffer a delay in onset of treatment cited unavailability of oncosurgeons/specialists or slots for treatment, inadequacy of the patient’s body to cope with the chemotherapy dose and non-availability of recommended treatment as the key reasons for the delay in treatment. Reduction in time lag in onset of treatment post diagnosis can be achieved through easier access to oncophysicians, oncosurgeons and enhancement of facilities to cope with the demand.

Most respondents stated that their expectations from hospitals included accessibility to cancer specialists, quality & expertise of doctors, counseling services, cleanliness & hygiene and all-under-one-roof availability. In the south, especially Chennai, satisfaction level with most parameters while choosing a hospital are higher than other regions. Patient engagement through counseling and timely access to healthcare facilities are clear need gaps to be fulfilled.

Respondents shared that costly treatment options, re-emergence of cancer, lack of counseling to deal with the emotional stress and access to oncologists were the key areas of concern in their personal experience.

Dr. Jayanthi S Thumsi, Breast Oncologist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals, commented: “Delaying diagnosis has a significant impact on the final outcome of the patient who receives cancer treatment. Patients in early stages of cancer are more likely to receive curative treatment in comparison to the palliative care that is given to end stage cancer patients. Hence, early diagnosis and initiation of treatment is crucial for higher chances of survival.”

Dr. Sachin Jadhav, Dept. of Hematology and BMT, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals, added: “Cancer is characterized as a fast growing disease that is often uncontrollable. The physical impact of cancer is well documented and researched, while the far reaching impact on one’s emotional state of mind is frequently ignored. A cancer patient has a higher chance of being a survivor if we are able to support them through the journey by ensuring ease of treatment, adequate counseling and quality treatment at affordable rates.”

Gleneagles Global Hospital decided to commission this study as it highlights the perils of diagnostic delays, inaccessibility to quality care and physicians and how it can presumably ultimately affect cancer outcomes.

“At Gleneagles Global Hospitals, we follow the UNWAIT philosophy. It is ingrained in every effort we make towards making things easier for cancer patients and caregivers. The philosophy is reflected in every step of the way, right from the diagnosis to treatment initiation. We create an ecosystem that tackles the major pain points mentioned in the report, so that patients and caregivers won’t have to wait and are provided with the best in care. With the latest technology, skilled physicians, compassionate staff and well equipped wards our hospital provides care for more than 2000 odd children and adults every year, suffering from various cancers with utmost dedication and commitment.” said Mr. Thomas Mathew, COO, Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Bengaluru

The study covers 6 major Indian cities including Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. A comprehensive sample of 600 cancer patients and survivors were kind enough to be a part of this study. Insights and feedback was collected through in person interactions with cancer survivors between the ages of 20-55 years old.

About BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals: The BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals in Bengaluru is a state-of-the-art, NABH facility with expertise in multi-disciplinary tertiary specialties. With over 500-beds, the hospital is one of the largest of its kind in Bengaluru and consists of 14-operation theatres, most advanced imaging facilities and has one of the largest liver ICUs in the country. The hospital caters to several key specialties including oncology, neurosurgery, liver diseases and various others. It brings advanced technologies that drive new and more effective treatments.

BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals caters to several overseas patients from around the world suffering from various disorders such as liver ailments, kidney failures, breast cancer, leukemia, neurological disorders amongst others. Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Bengaluru enjoys an international repute as a center of excellence for advanced clinical care. BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals is your trusted partner for all your healthcare needs.

more details: