Sonali Bendre has in an unfortunate twist of fate, been diagnosed with high-grade cancer with the information being revealed to the public today, Wednesday with a tweet.
The actress is presently in New York for treatment of her cancer and stated the current conditions in her statement by saying,
“Sometimes when you least expect it, life throws you a curveball. I have recently been diagnosed with high-grade cancer that has metastasized, which we frankly did not see coming. A niggling pain led to some tests, which led to this unexpected diagnosis.
My family and close friends have rallied around me, providing the best support system that anyone can ask for. I am very blessed and thankful for each of them.
There is no better way to tackle this than to take swift and immediate action. And so, as advised by my doctors, I am currently undergoing a course of treatment in New York. We remain optimistic and I am determined to fight every step of the way.
What has helped has been the immense outpouring of love and support I’ve received over the past few days, for which I am very grateful. I’m taking this battle head-on, knowing I have the strength of my family and friends behind me.”
However, while the news is extremely sad, one has to wonder why exactly Bendre had to go outside the country for treatment. Is the Indian private healthcare system really that bad that even till now, we are incapable of treating severe medical diagnoses like cancer, tumour and more?
Why Do Stars Go Abroad For Treatment?
This has been observed for quite some time now of how stars and known personalities fly out abroad for treatment of several different health conditions.
It is not just Bendre who is seeking treatment from outside India, but the some of the other names include Irrfan Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Ritu Nanda (Raj Kapoor’s daughter) and even Goa’s CM Manohar Parrikar.
Parrikar was revealed to be suffering from an advanced stage of pancreatic cancer in March of this year. He had apparently been admitted in the Goa Medical College and Hospital and then transferred to Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital in February.
However, the former Defence Minister after several ups and downs flew out to the US in March for further treatment.
This begs the question whether Indian private healthcare sector is good enough or not for such high-profile people.
Dr. R Bidwe, one of the top cancer surgeons in India has stated several times that India is not lacking the treatment since anything that is available across the globe is also present in India.
L H Hiranandani Hospital’s senior consultant medical oncologist Dr. Ashish Bakshi, has also stated that “Nowadays, when new are drugs introduced abroad —they are simultaneously launched here and are easily available here.”
Thus if there is no lacking of treatment and technology, then what could be the reason for stars travelling to US and UK for cancer treatment?
The answer perhaps lies in that while there might not be anything lacking in the technology and treatment aspect, one reason for such people going abroad could be the quality of the management and all the other things that come with getting treatment.
Apparently, Yuvraj Singh was incorrectly diagnosed by an Indian hospital that delayed the detection of his cancer. While Singh was able to recover well and get the correct treatment in time, such a thing could easily have taken a deadly turn.
Indian private hospitals have often been accused of either misdiagnosing or exaggerating the condition in order to squeeze out more money in treatments and stay in the hospital from the patient.
One such recent incident would be the 2017 case of Fortis Hospital, Gurgaon where they billed a family a whopping Rs. 18 lakh for 15 days of treatment of dengue of a 7-year-old girl, who sadly passed away at the end of it.
A work acquaintance of the family posted the entire story on Twitter and it gained mass traction even attention from the Union Health Minister, J P Nadda.
One of my batchmate's 7 year old was in @fortis_hospital for ~15 days for Dengue. Billed 18 lakhs including for 2700 gloves. She passed away at the end of it. Corrupt assholes.
— D (@DopeFloat) November 17, 2017
This is just one of the many examples of the Indian private health sector being corrupt and only focusing on overcharging the patients as much as possible.
And where the private health sector is unsafe, the government sector is a bit too public for such well-known people along with also not having the five-star facilities that they require.
Number of Cancer Patients and Privacy
Another reason for such stars to be going abroad would be the high number of cancer patients that India has while not enough doctors to treat it.
As per the National Cancer Registry Programme of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 2016 an astonishing 3.9 million cancer cases were recorded and as per data gathered in 2017, India had the 3rd highest number of cases of cancer among women.
In 2014, Business Standard came out with a piece that showed how the oncologist to patient ration in India 1:2000 which means there is just 1 oncologist for every 2000 cancer patients.
Whereas the US medical sector boasts of a good 1:100 oncologist to patient ratio with there being about 12,500 oncologists for 1.4 million cancer patients.
Thus, it could create delays in the patient getting treatment on time in government health sector.
The last but not the least reason for public personalities opting for treatment abroad could be privacy issues.
Being in India would mean constant surveillance by media channels and houses wondering about their progress and the hospital also being frequented by reporters and such.
If the actor is in a foreign land they can be at peace and recover quietly without being hounded by the media.
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