Health Experts and Oncologists Advocate for Tailored, Region Specific Capacity Building of Healthcare Professionals and Mass Awareness for Improved Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC) Management

Business Wire IndiaHealth experts and leading oncologists of the country, highlighted the need for tailored interventions to address regional disparities for better management of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC) in the country. They also urged to create relevant awareness around risk factors including, EBV Virus, smoking, poor oral hygiene and occupational exposure to Nitrosamine along with capacity building of doctors and healthcare set-ups for early detection and better treatment opportunities for NPC.

Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma presents a distinctive challenge to public health in India, particularly in the northeastern and southern regions, characterized by a unique demographic and clinical profile and to address the pressing health issue, a special session explored the public health perspective of NPC, shedding light on its relative rarity, advanced-stage presentations, and innovative treatment modalities. The session was organised as part of the 5th edition of Cancer Summit, hosted by the Integrated Health and Wellbeing Council and was exclusively supported by Dr. Reddy’s.

Taking part in the discussion Dr. S. Hukku, Advisor Radiation Oncology Department, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi observed, “The site at which NPC develops is very critical and hence early detection becomes important as NPC can impact various critical organs of the body including the brain.” He also further added that it is time affordability of advanced therapies like immunotherapy for metastatic cases of NPC is ensured.

Witnessing active participation from an array of esteemed experts from the field of oncology and public health, the session titled “Understanding the Landscape of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC) in India: A Public Health Perspective” illuminated various critical aspects of NPC, examining challenges such as late-stage diagnosis, increased susceptibility to distant metastasis associated with poor prognosis thus providing comprehensive insights into the complexities of NPC management within the Indian healthcare landscape.

Discussing about NPC, Dr. Bhavesh Kotak, Head Medical Affairs, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd remarked, “Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC) stands apart from other Head and Neck Cancers, presenting unique diagnostic challenges that often result in missed diagnoses. It is imperative to grasp the distinct nature of NPC to effectively address this concerning trend. By fostering a deeper understanding of NPC within our communities, we can empower individuals to recognize potential signs, seek timely medical attention, and ultimately improve outcomes for those affected by this lesser-known yet significant form of cancer.”

Other experts in the panel included prominent oncologists like Dr. Rajeev Kumar, Additional Professor, Department of ENT, NCI, AIIMS New Delhi and Dr. Ahitagni Biswas, Additional Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, AIIMS Delhi and they provided valuable insights into NPC management strategies including prominent risk factors and etiological factors while also highlighting the importance of collaborative efforts between healthcare professionals, policymakers, and communities to address the multifaceted challenges associated with the disease.

Prof. (Dr.) Atul Sharma, Vice Chairman, Medical Oncology, Max Institute of Cancer Care, New Delhi, while taking part in the discussion said, “Each year, approximately 6 thousand cases of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC) are diagnosed, with its unique propensity to metastasize even at early stages posing significant challenges. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) stands as the most common risk factor, alongside notable genetic influences. To address NPC, screening initiatives in high incidence areas, coupled with community awareness efforts and capacity building among healthcare professionals, are crucial.”

Dr. Shikha Sharma, HP&QA Consultant, National Health Authority gave an overview of the role of Ayushman Bharat as far as cancer coverage is concerned and also added that PPP can play a significant role in better coverage of public health packages as well as in awareness creation on cancers like NPC, as there is an awareness deficiency which often results in mis-diagnosis and delays the treatment and management of NPC.

The session concluded with a call to action, urging stakeholders to prioritize early detection and diagnosis, implement targeted interventions to address regional disparities, and invest in research and public health initiatives aimed at mitigating the impact of NPC on Indian communities.
Disclaimer: Issued in public interest, the above information is for general awareness and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider for information related to your health and medication.