The term 'cancer' is no longer as scary as it used to be a decade ago, with advances in cancer care - in terms of state-of-the-art equipment and more effective drugs - the quality of life for people suffering from cancer has improved significantly.
Yuvraj Singh, who returned to Internal Cricket within a year of completing chemotherapy for lung cancer, is a classic example of how it is possible to lead a normal life if the disease is diagnosed early and treated in time.
Addressing the session, 'A Fight We Can Win', on day one of the Hindustan Times Summit 2012, on Friday, cancer experts emphasised the need for early diagnosis for a better treatment outcome.
They also agreed gene therapy is going to play a crucial role in finding a cure for cancer.
"We know that onco genes are responsible for causing cancer and as the treatment advances, scientists are moving from organ-specific treatment to cell and gene-specific treatment," said Dr Ashutosh K Tewari, director, Prostate Cancer Institute and the LeFrak Robotic Surgery Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, one of the speakers at the session.
"We can do to cancer what we did to small pox in India. It might take time but it can be done," said Dr Tewari.
By 2015, more than 10.5 lakh people will be affected with the disease in the country, claimed experts.
"For 1.2 billion population, we have 280 radiation machines and possible half the number of experts to run these machines," Dr Sameer Kaul, senior surgical oncologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, said.