A rapidly spreading disease, very little research, fewer doctors and unequipped hospitals along with spiralling cost of treatment, cancer is fast becoming a major health menace for India with the healthcare system in shambles to tackle the burden.

As per WHO's latest assessment, cancer cases in India will multiply five times over the next decade (by 2025) with more women falling prey to it than men. Even after adjusting population growth, the new cancer cases have increased by 30% per unit population, according to several assessments on the disease trend in the country.

According to a Lancet report of 2014, slightly over 10 lakh or one million new cases of cancer are diagnosed every year in India. Increasing incidence of cancer is also leading to economic burden of cancer treatment which was 20 times the annual income of the family, an assessment by AIIMS showed.

Though the government is trying to build an infrastructure to tackle the disease, the wide gap between the number of patients and specialized oncologists has hit expansion plans of not just the government but also of private hospitals trying to create dedicated cancer facilities.

"One core reason why the infrastructure for management of India's cancer burden is insufficient is the severe shortage of appropriately educated medical and other health personnel, and of the training facilities needed to produce them," says the Lancet article. It also points at factors such as the preferences of doctors and other health professionals for working in more affluent areas, and the effects of a largely unregulated private sector resulting in a skewed geographical distribution of cancer treatment facilities.