Suresh Advani

A name popular among Cancer patients and their family, Dr. Suresh Advani took the initiative to eradicate cancer from root level in India. 

India has a reason to celebrate the World Cancer day this year, with its development in the field of Cancer  One of the most dreaded disease, “cancer” is a word which people loathe hearing. It is the second largest killer in India, claiming 9.6 million lives in the world. Cancer strikes one in every eight Indian, says the Indian Cancer Society. 

Thus, now is the crucial time to upgrade our human resource, and study in the field of oncology. India has already rooted its presence in cancer research and treatment with its impressive panel of doctors, including names such as Suresh Advani, Subhankar Deb, Amit Agarwal, Ashok Vaid, etc.

Despite performing ground-breaking work in the field of oncology, India’s collective onco-departments are still in deficit of skilled expertise needed to work for over 100 different types of cancer. Every year the oncology market in India increases by 20%, demanding doctors. Aiming to be self-reliant in most of the cancer-related cures, several treatments are available in India such as:

  1. Surgery
  2. Radiation therapy
  3. Chemotherapy (highest market value of 700 Cr in 2012)
  4. Immunotherapy
  5. Targeted therapy
  6. Stem cell therapy
  7. Precision medicine
  8. Hormone therapy

One of the renowned centers for cancer treatment is Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital, seeing 40,000 patients every year, up from about 20,000 two decades ago, as per official data. One such pioneering doctor, a game changer in oncology in India was Dr Suresh, a veteran doctor and an accolade to the hospital. He is the first and best oncologist in India currently.

When it comes to cancer treatment, the doctor broke the confines of his disability to help become people’s ability to live. He was struck by polio at the age of 8 which restricted his mobility from waist down. But he went on to do some of his very best works and help people.

Dr Suresh’s brilliance emerged in the medical forefront when he successfully performed a bone marrow transplant in India, becoming the first oncologist to do so. He saved many lives in his career, and proudly holds the highest of regard in the medical profession- Padma Bhushan.

He has served in Jaslok Hospital, Asian Cancer Institute, Breach Candy Hospital, Susruth Hospital, all which are highly sought after for cancer treatments.

Current SWOT Analysis – Oncology in India

Finding new ways to cure  patients, India has been continuously moving forward, challenging the adversity of cancer. Oncology is currently at 3831 Cr with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.46% by 2017 – Frost & Sullivan

Strength- Penetrating into new ways and methods of cancer prevention and treatments

Opportunities – Biological and drug directed therapies, commercialization of immunotherapies and target therapies would stimulate market growth, scope for conducting various levels of clinical research

Weakness- Huge costs incurred in new drug development linked with threat of failure. India suffers 20 per cent of the global disease burden ratio but not even 15 per cent of the Indians get some sort of health insurance

Threats – Unwanted effects that come with cancer drugs therapies

Is India’s Cancer progression situation a market for medical device companies?

The “market” for cancer is substantially increasing in India, with its human and economic costs. More than 1 million cancer cases are being diagnosed, and the number likely to rise to 5 million over the forthcoming decade. So is it an opportunity for national and international medical companies to clout on?

With some major companies already being top entrants, the total market for diagnostic and medical equipment in India is increasing at an annual rate of 18 per cent. Some of the recent advancements are as follows:

  1. Top players in the sector are GE, Siemens, Philips and Toshiba. The criteria for medical equipment building in Indian market is on four parameters – easy-to-use, portable, durable, and cheaper.
  2. Apollo Hospitals partnering with Belgium’s Ion Beam Applications to build India’s first proton therapy center, starting its operations in 2016.
  3. Indian cancer imaging markets have been captured by Siemens and Philips. Philips is also collaborating with Apollo and Fortis to sell its MRI-guided HIFU system.
  4. Portable cancer equipment’s demand is increasing considerably and India is being seen as a big prospect market (rural areas can also access mobile medical devices).
  5. Technologies such as
  6. Radiosurgery technology
  7. 3-D conformal radiotherapy
  8. CyberKnife surgery
  9. Proton therapy,  are being spread quickly throughout India

Beating these international players are few Indian healthcare providers such as Apollo, Manipal, Healthcare Global and Max Healthcare.

  • Max healthcare is increasing its investment in cancer research and care by 40 per cent. Building 27 cancer centers in the past 8 years, the total sum investment will reach as high as $120 million in the next 3 years.
  • With disease and debt frequently linked together, the Indian healthcare products are now offering in-home chemotherapy assistance, eliminating long travel distances and also at lower costs.

As India’s cancer burden increases, onco—surgeons and specialists are tapping into new dimensions, to provide effective treatments. But with India becoming technology equipped, do we have enough manual power to cater to the inflating onco-market?

India’s first oncologist, Dr Suresh Advani says, “Our most critical issue in this area now is the acute shortage of cancer specialists. This disease needs specialized approach and care both for detection and cure. Unless we have several more training centers and cancer research-cum-care facilities in the country, we just can’t overcome this shortage.”

Seeing how oncology grew in India right before his eyes, the professional started off when oncology was frowned upon as a “less profitable area” by specialists. Although things have improved since then, oncology still has a long way to go in the country. When questioned about how effective current medical system is in treating the ever-increasing patients, the doctor stated, “Lack of speciality care is another contributor to late detection and number of deaths. Although several new, better cancer speciality facilities have come up in the private sector, most of them still cater to the metros and their affordability to the common man is yet another big issue, although a slowly increasing insurance penetration, especially in the cities, can hopefully resolve the issue to a certain extent.”

The new tandem of technological progress has begun in India, but leaving scope for the country to work on its medical personnel, tackling the burden of cancer which is spreading at an epidemic pace.


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