The United States and India Partner to Broaden Efforts to Fight Cancer

Incidence and mortality rates are on the rise in India; prevention, early detection, and research may improve outcomes

Representatives from the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institutes of Health visited Chennai and Tamil Nadu from February 22-24, 2016, to discuss partnership opportunities with their Indian cancer control and research colleagues on ways to advance cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, research, and patient care delivery, as well as professional training and capacity building. Such partnerships could include in-country exchanges as well as ongoing cooperation.

“By sharing best practices on cancer control policies and programs, collaborating on clinical research, and providing insights on infrastructure, we can jointly help reduce the global cancer burden,” said Edward Trimble, M.D., director of NCI’s Center for Global Health.

More than 1.2 million people are newly diagnosed with cancer in India each year, and 6 percent of all Indian deaths are due to cancer. Further, the number of new annual cancer cases among women in India is more than 5 lakhs and among men more than 4.5 lakhs. The cancer incidence and mortality rates are driven by high rates of tobacco use, limited access to effective screening methods, and poor treatment outcomes.

The U.S. delegation met with representatives from the Tamil Nadu Ministry of Health, the National Institute of Epidemiology of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai, the Christian Medical College in Vellore, as well as Sri Ramachandra University and SRM University in Chennai. This visit enhances ongoing efforts, most recently outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two nations. The MOU establishes the general framework of intended collaboration for promoting and conducting high-quality research to strengthen the evidence base necessary for improved cancer prevention, treatment, and management.