According to WHO, lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosis in the world, affecting over 2.09 million people. European countries like Finland pose as the best spot for cancer treatment but one of the leading countries with a higher success rate and inexpensive costs in lung cancer treatment is India.
Owing to this, millions of medical tourists travel to India for their treatment. Aside from the highly-skilled oncologists and surgeons, India is also home to advanced tumor diagnostic equipment that provide accurate diagnosis.
The leading multi-specialty hospitals in India work with an interdisciplinary team of doctors to administer the best treatment to the patients.
Table of Contents
- Types of Lung Cancer and Its Treatment in India.
- How to Prepare for Lung Cancer Treatment in India?
- What to expect While opting Lung Cancer Treatment in India?
- Why India is a Preferred Destination for Lung Cancer Treatment?
- What is the cost of Lung Cancer Treatment in India?
- Types of Lung Cancer and its Treatment in India
Lung cancer is caused by the abnormalities in the epithelial cells around the lung tissues. It can also be a result of a metastasized cancer cell from another affected part of the body.
Types of Lung Cancer
Generally, it is categorized into four different types, depending on the stage of severity. They include:
- Small Cell Lung Cancer- It constitutes up to 20% of lung cancer cases worldwide. It is a type of neuroendocrine tumor that resembles a smaller size than most other standard cancer cells. It is also highly metastatic, meaning that it rapidly spreads to the body’s remaining organs, posing a severe threat with late diagnosis.
- Non-small Cell Lung Cancer- It constitutes up to 85% of the reported lung cancer cases in the world. Thus, making it the most common form of lung cancer. Since it has a slower metastasis rate, it is categorized into Stages 1, 2, 3, and 4, depending on the current state of spread. It is further classified into subtypes, including adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, etc.
- Lung Carcinoid- It accounts for a rare form of neuroendocrine tumor that can be categorized as typical and atypical forms. They originate from the body’s hormone-producing cells, typically the lungs or the small intestine in this case.
- Cancer of Supporting Lung tissue- It originates as cancer via the supporting lung tissues that are later rapidly spread to the lymph nodes, posing death risks.
In general, there are a few different stages of lung cancer, depending on the rate of metastasis.
The treatment in India proceeds depending on the severity of the cancer and the individual’s age. Here are a few treatment options.
- Targeted Therapy- Preceding cancer treatments made use of drugs and procedures that affected the healthy cells surrounding the infectious cancer cells. The targeted therapy classifies as a new form of the drug for lung cancer that directly attacks the cancer cells by halting their growth. They don’t harm the healthy cells surrounding the cancerous cells.
- Radiation Therapy- It is the most common treatment that uses high-energy X-ray beams to directly attack and kill the cancer cells in the lungs or stop their growth and metastasis.
- Chemotherapy- It is another standard treatment method that uses chemo drugs, which are injected intravenously for higher efficacy. Both variants of adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemotherapy sessions are conducted for 3-4 months, depending on the stage of lung cancer.
- Surgery- Lobectomy is the standard surgical procedure for the treatment of lung cancer. It includes the removal of the cancer-affected lobe or section of the lung. According to a study, the five-year survival rate of N0, N1, and N2 were 100.0%, 87.5%, and 41.7%.
- Stereotactic body radiotherapy for Lung Cancer- It accounts for an early-stage treatment of lung cancer. This treatment is the next best treatment option for individuals with co-morbidities and age who are not equipped for surgery.
- Immunotherapy- It is the most non-invasive form of lung cancer treatment that charges the body’s immune system to fight cancerous cells. There are a few types of immunotherapy treatments, including cancer vaccines, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, etc.
- Palliative care for Lung Cancer- It is a supportive form of treatment that is administered with primary treatment procedures. It mainly targets the pain and helps the patient recover from the pain they incur during the treatment.
- How to Prepare for Lung Cancer Treatment in India?
If you are traveling to India as a medical tourist to undergo salient lung cancer treatment, you need to follow a few protocols. They include both the documentation part and the consultation part before arrival.
Carry the Important Documents
You need to have all the documentation in hand before your hospitalization. Some of the necessary documents include:
- Passport copy (scanned)
- Hospital recommendation letter from your native hospital for further treatment
- Medical visa proof
- Residential address proof
- Past medical treatment documents
- Passport copy of attendant (if any)
Consultation with Doctor
Before you plan your trip to India for lung cancer treatment, consult your doctor via email or video chat. Having a clear idea of the procedure, the duration of stay, side effects, and the real consequences is essential.
Having a basic idea about the cost and expenses for the treatment, food, and accommodation is also necessary.
Prepare Yourself Mentally and Physically
Lung cancer treatment is strenuous and taxing on one’s mental and physical health. Being away from home for treatment adds to the stress. Before proceeding with the procedures, it is essential to prepare yourself mentally. Be optimistic about the outcomes, and make sure that you stay in touch with your loved ones for better support.
As for your physical health, switch to a healthier diet and active lifestyle before the treatment starts.
- What to Expect While Having Lung Cancer Treatment in India?
Aside from a higher success rate during the treatment, medical tourists can also expect proper care, advanced infrastructure, and highly-skilled professionals tending to them.
Here are a few other things you can expect during the treatment.
Tests and Imaging
Even if you have a proper diagnosis from your family doctor, the specialized oncologists in India will further suggest a few tests and imaging for noting the current state of your health.
Apart from the general blood work, there are a few other specialty tests that the doctor suggests. It includes:
- Endobronchial ultrasound
- Biopsy check for the lymph nodes around the neck
Depending on the stage of cancer, the doctor can prescribe further tests.
Following the treatment initiation, the nurses look after the patients to ensure a faster recovery. Since radiation, chemotherapy, etc. take multiple treatment sessions, there is no standard timeline for recovery.
Depending on how far cancer has spread and the aggressiveness of the cancer cells, the doctor proceeds with the treatment accordingly.
In case of surgical procedures, the patient is kept under observation for a few days, following which the discharge is approved, depending on the recovery rate.
The doctors also suggest the follow-up schedule with the medications till that time.
Lung cancer treatment doesn’t have a standard recovery time since the majority of the treatments are recurring, including chemotherapy and radiation.
On average, a lung cancer patient’s median survival rate in remission is up to 24 months. It can vary depending on the severity of cancer and the stage it is in.
One’s age, medical history, and genetic predisposition also affect the recovery timeline.
- Why is India Preferred Destination for Lung Cancer Treatment?
India is filled with highly-qualified and experienced oncologists with a specialty in lung cancer. So, it is not a surprise that most medical tourists choose India over the other leading countries for their treatment.
Below are a few other reasons why India is considered the best option for lung cancer treatment.
Advanced Medical Infrastructure
Aside from molecular testing and early diagnosis, India is also famous for precision oncology with personalized medication for targeted treatment.
The hospitals use the latest equipment and testing technologies for faster and more precise treatment without affecting the body’s healthy cells.
The country is also a leading option in terms of post-treatment care and hospitality.
No Language Barrier
The majority of Indian doctors are well versed in English. In case the medical tourists are fluent in some other languages, the hospitals have appointed translators for ease of communication.
Ease in Medical Visa
With the ease of documentations and sanctions, we cater the fastest visa to the medical tourists looking for treatment options at the earliest.
Safety in Covid situation
Hospitals are sanitized frequently throughout the day. Even the doctors and the remaining medical staff take salient precautions to safeguard themselves and the patients.
- How much does Lung Cancer treatment cost in India?
The extended costs for lung cancer treatment can go up to INR 34,00,000. It is mainly for recurring treatment options like chemotherapy and radiation.
For surgical treatments for lung cancer, the cost varies from INR 4,00,000 to INR 7,00,000. The cost can vary depending on the length of hospitalization and the other accessory treatment costs, including tests and accommodation.
India is a leading country in lung cancer treatment. The country offers inexpensive treatment with high-quality infrastructure and medical facilities, along with some of the best oncologists on board. Lung cancer treatment has come a long way, especially in India. With the advent of the latest equipment to the advancing medical sciences, the patients are offered with the best in class treatment with premium hospitality that ensure faster recovery