Cancer Treatment Cost in India

Aarex offers low-cost, world-class medical treatment & surgery in India

Cancer Treatment/Surgery in India

  • World class results for cancer treatment
  • World Class equipment for investigations, radiotherapy and surgery
  • Cancer specialists with great qualifications and experience
  • India has many super specialists ( specialisation in one particular area: Breast Cancers, Stomach Cancers, Prostate Cancers, etc)
  • Low cost of cancer treatment
  • Availability of high-quality cancer medicines at very low prices
  • India offers the perfect combination of expertise and economical costs
  • Low cost of apartment accommodation during cancer treatment

This section provides only a brief outline of the treatment possibilities for cancer in India. Please Enquire with your medical reports and we will respond with a detailed medical opinion and cost estimate.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease that is caused by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the body.  The healthy human body is made up of a huge number of cells working in harmony.  Cancer begins when one of these cells becomes abnormal and begins to multiply, independent of the normal characteristics of cell growth, cell death and cell replacement.  This abnormal group of multiplying cells is known as cancer growth.  The term ' cancer' is used generally; in reality each individual case of cancer is unique, in terms of the genetic alterations and the abnormal growth characteristics.

Although each type of cancer is different, they also share a few common characteristics.  The treatment of cancer is based on these commonalities.

Hi tech investigations for the diagnosis of cancer

Investigations for cancer necessarily involve blood tests, physical examinations and clinical assessment. In some cases biopsy may also be needed.  Apart from these, the best hospitals in India also have world-class diagnostics that enable an accurate assessment of:

  • The type of cancer
  • The source of the cancer
  • The extent of spread ( metastasis)

These diagnostics include the following:

  • PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography): This scan falls in the category of nuclear medicine and combines two different imaging techniques (PET and CT) to provide images of  tremendous value in cancer investigations.  These images help to precisely locate the areas of abnormal activity within the body and are far more advanced than conventional MRI or CT images.
  • MRI (3.0 Tesla)
  • CT Scan (256 Slice)
  • CT -Simulation (32 Slice)
  • Sentinel node biopsy for breast cancers

All the above high-tech non-invasive investigations can be completed within 2-3 days of your arrival in India. In case a biopsy is required, a few extra days will be needed. These investigations can be completed on outpatient basis, without your having to necessarily get admitted in the hospital. 

Cancer treatment - Methods

Cancer patients are first referred to a Medical Oncologist, who is a doctor with specialised training in the diagnosis of cancer and the selection of the appropriate methodology for treatment of various cancers.  The medical oncologist also has specialised qualifications in chemotherapy ( treatment of cancers through medicines). The medical oncologist would evaluate the patient and decide on the most appropriate method of treatment.  He may do this in consultation with surgical oncologists (surgeons specialising in cancer) and radiation oncologists (doctors specialising in radiotherapy for cancer).

In general:

  • if the cancer is restricted to one single part of the body, surgery or radiotherapy may be advised, since these are localised methods of treatment
  • if the cancer is spread to many parts of the body, chemotherapy may be advised, since it can attack cancer cells in almost all parts of the body
  • if the cancer is localised but difficult to reach by  surgery, radiotherapy may be advised
  • if the cancer is stimulated by a hormone released by the body, hormonal therapy to eliminate the production of that hormone may be advised
  • for blood cancers, bone marrow transplant may be advised

Very often, it is necessary to use more than one method of treatment (for example, surgery followed by chemotherapy)

About Cancer Surgery

Surgery is the oldest form of treatment for cancer and is still one of the most widely used for several types of cancers (breast, prostate, colon, etc).  Cancer surgery targets to remove the tumour completely.  There could be a total cure in those situations where the tumour is in only one location with no spread to any other part of the body.  However it is possible that there may be undetected cancer cells which can lead to recurrence.  For this reason, surgery is very often supplemented by systemic medicine (chemotherapy) with the objective of attacking the undetected cancer cells.

Leading cancer hospitals in India have dedicated specialists who focus on, and specialise in, one key area of cancer surgery. Thus, the best oncology hospitals in India will be able to provide you with the services of dedicated Cancer surgeons in each of the following areas:

  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer of the colon and rectum
  • Endocrine tumors
  • Gastrointestinal and liver tumors
  • Head & Neck tumors
  • Brain and Spine Tumours
  • Soft Tissue and Bone Tumors
  • Thoracic (throat) cancers
  • Urology / prostate cancer
  • Cervix / Gynaecological oncology

Hospital Stay: 7-10 days
Recuperation Stay in an apartment: 4-5 days.  If supplementary treatment (like chemotherapy) is needed, the stay outside the hospital would be longer.

About Radiotherapy

Radiation Therapy or Radiotherapy destroys cancer cells by the use of by ionising radiation. This radiation can be delivered from an external source or it can be locally delivered at the tumour site by using radioactive substances delivered through needles/catheters or implantable radioactive seeds/wires. 

It is estimated that about 40% to 50% of cancer patients can benefit from having radiotherapy at some point during the treatment.  Cancer cure is the objective of treatment in approximately 70% of the cases where radiotherapy is recommended.  In the remaining cases, radiotherapy is aimed at providing relief from the symptoms resulting from advanced cancers.

Cutting edge technology allows radiotherapy today to target maximum destruction of cancer cells while minimising damage to the surrounding healthy tissue and side-effects, which are mostly temporary and manageable.

Hospitals in India use the latest technology in planning and delivering world class radiotherapy. The world-class radiotherapy/radiosurgery equipped meant available at our associate hospitals in India includes:

  • CyberKnife / Gamma Knife / Novalis Tx / TrueBeam STx  non-invasive Radiotherapy ( with special applications for brain cancers)
  • VMAT (volumetric arc therapy) or Infinity Linear accelerator
  • Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) with X-Ray Volume Imaging (XVI) providing a virtual CT scan on the Linear accelerator in real time
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

    Duration of conventional radiotherapy: Generally, daily sittings- five days a week, for six weeks
    Duration of CyberKnife, etc: Approximately 10 days

About Chemotherapy

‘Chemotherapy’ describes cancer treatment which uses a range of drugs to destroy cancer cells. While cancer surgery and radiotherapy remain the primary lines of treatment in early cancers, chemotherapy - also described as systemic medicine- becomes essential in those cases where the cancer has spread to many parts of the body.

Depending on the type of cancer and the spread, the object of chemotherapy can be curative or palliative (reducing symptoms, providing pain relief, increasing the quality of life, etc.). With advancements in research, chemotherapy has become increasingly focused, thus resulting in greater success with lesser side-effects.

Medical oncologists in India are experts at treating the entire range of:
Solid Tumours  (which affect, for example, the breast, lung, ovary, Colon, prostate, etc) and
Haematological (Blood) Cancers such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, etc.  Various treatment options in medical oncology are offered at our hospitals.

Delivery of Chemotherapy:

  • Chemotherapy medicine may be a single drug or a combination of several drugs, administered in ' cycles'.
  • Each cycle comprises one session of medicine administration, followed by a period of recuperation and rest.
  • The medicine may be given as pills, injections into the vein, injections into the affected part of the body (the bladder, for example), injections into a muscle or into the spine, etc.
  • Most chemotherapy medicine today is administered into the vein; however the future trend is towards orally administered pills.
  • The administration of intravenous chemotherapy can take place in a matter of minutes or it can be spread over two to three days.  Therefore, overnight hospital admission may be required in some cases, although it is most often done as a day care procedure at the hospital.
  • Usually the number of chemotherapy cycles varies between 4-6 cycles. The intervening gap between one cycle and the next can vary from 1-4 weeks.  Prior to commencement of each cycle, the patient is evaluated to see whether he is fit for the next cycle of chemotherapy.  After the completion of a certain number of cycles, a detailed evaluation may be done to evaluate the response of the body to the chemotherapy.  Changes in the medicines may be prescribed to increase the effectiveness of the treatment.

About Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is a form of radiation that is also called as internal radiation or internal radiotherapy.  During brachytherapy, radioactive material is implanted directly into, or near, the cancer tumour. This approach increases the effectiveness in attacking the tumour cells while minimising side-effects and damage to healthy tissue. The radioactive material may be implanted either temporarily or permanently.

Brachytherapy targets the cancerous tumour precisely from inside the body and can be used in for the treatment of cancers of the cervix, breast, prostate, skin, etc. It can a stand-alone therapy or administered in combination with other methods of cancer treatment

About Hormonal Therapy

Some types of cancer (breast, prostate, thyroid, cancer of the ovary) are stimulated by hormones produced by the human body.  Hormone therapy aims to cut off the production of these cancer-stimulants and thus deprive the cancer of its stimulus and catalyst.  Hormone therapy thus involves the use of medicines to suppress the production of hormones ( for example, the suppression of thyroid stimulating hormones). As an alternative, the hormone producing organs may also be removed through surgery ( for prostate cancer patients, typically, this involves the removal of the testicles).

Hormone therapy is quite often combined with the other methods of cancer treatment.

Since hormone therapy works by interfering with the production of the hormones, the side-effects are also related to the reduction, or the absence, of the hormones.  Side-effects may include weight gain, erectile dysfunction, fluid retention, etc

About Targeted Therapy

Targeted cancer therapy blocks the spread of cancer by targeting the specific molecules that are responsible for the conversion of normal cells to cancer cells. The focus therefore is solely on malignant cancer cells, while minimising damage to normal cells. On the other hand, chemotherapy and radiation therapy cannot differentiate between cancer cells and normal cells; hence side-effects are more than in the case of targeted therapy.

 Targeted cancer therapy may be used by itself or in combination with chemotherapy, to increase the efficacy of treatment. A highly specific targeted therapy that is able to attack at the molecule level, in combination with standard chemotherapy, will be the direction of treatment in the future.

It is the focus on molecular and cellular changes that are specific to cancer that sets apart this form of therapy from other methods of cancer treatment.

Targeted cancer therapy drugs include the following: Antiangiogenic drugs, Gene therapy, Monoclonal antibodies, Proteasome inhibitors, etc.

About Bone Marrow Transplant ( BMT)

A bone marrow transplant is a complex nonsurgical procedure for the treatment of leukaemia (blood cancer), aplastic anemia, lymphomas such as Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, etc

Bone marrow is a tissue that is found inside the bones.  Stem cells, which produce the blood cells, are found in the bone marrow that is present in the hips, skull, breast bone, ribs etc.  The medical conditions listed above cause these stem cells to malfunction.  This results in the production of a very large number of defective blood cells or low blood cell count. During the treatment of this condition,these abnormal stem cells and blood cells are destroyed through chemotherapy or radiotherapy.  In this process the normal cells in the bone marrow are also destroyed.

The BMT procedure enables the replacement of destroyed cells with healthy cells.

Autologous BMT procedure is one in stem cells are harvested from the patient himself for subsequent transplantation
Allogenic BMT procedure is one in which the stem cells are donated by another person, preferably by a sibling.

The BMT procedure requires hospital stay of approximately 6-8 weeks and a further stay of approximately 8 weeks in an apartment or hotel in India.

For more details about this procedure, please Enquire Now !

This section provides only a brief outline of the treatment possibilities for cancer in India.  Please Enquire with your medical reports and we will respond with a detailed medical opinion and cost estimate.

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