Blood Cancer Treatment in India | MediGence

Blood Cancer Treatment in India | MediGence

What is Blood Cancer

Blood cancer is a malignant condition in which the blood cells lose their ability to function normally and grow out of control, hindering the function of normal blood cells.

Blood cancer typically starts in the cells that procedure different types of blood cells, also known as the bone marrow. The different types of blood cells include red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The cancer may also form in the cells produced by the marrow, such as lymphocytes or plasma cells (type of white blood cells). The normal blood production by the bone marrow is put to a halt as a result of growth of abnormal types of (malignant) cells in the blood-forming tissue.

Cost of Blood Cancer Treatment in Major Cities of India

City Average Cost in USD
Delhi $35822
Mumbai $35822
Gurgaon $32565
Kolkata $30937
Pune $32565
Ahmadabad $32565
Surat $32565
Bangalore $32565
Hyderabad $32565
Chennai $30937
Vishakhapatnam $30937

Types of Blood Cancer

Blood cancer can be differentiated into three main categories or types: 

1. Leukemias

Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that starts in the bone marrow and blood. It is the most common type of blood cancer that is characterized by an excessive production of white blood cells that do not function properly or inadequate production of platelets and/or red blood cells.

There are different types of leukemia, differentiated on the basis of how aggressive it is and what type of cells are involved. Some of the most common types include the following: 

Acute/chronic leukemia: Acute leukemia is characterized by immature blood cells known as blasts. It is quite aggressive in nature and requires timely treatment. The blast cells do not function properly and are able to divide rapidly. On the other hand, chronic leukemia involves more mature cells that are able to function normally for a while. The disease, in this case, may go unnoticed for a few years. They develop and divide slowly and symptoms may not appear for a while.

Lymphocytic leukemia: This type of leukemia affects the lymphocytes, which forms a part of the lymphatic tissue, which is in turn responsible for the immunity. 

Myelogenous leukemia: This type of leukemia affects the myeloid cells, which are responsible for the production of the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Some of the most common forms of leukemias based on the categories defined above include the following: 

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
  • Others: Myeloproliferative disorders, myelodysplastic syndromes etc.

2. Lymphomas

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is responsible for the production of immune cells and for the elimination of excess fluid from the body. This type of cancer primarily affects the lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cells responsible for fighting infections caused by pathogens. 

The malignant lymphocytes eventually develop into lymphoma, which grow aggressively in the lymph nodes and other tissues in the body. 

Further, there are two main types of lymphomas: 

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: It is a type of lymphoma that develops in lymphocytes. 

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: This type of cancer also developed in the lymphocytes but is characterized by a particular type of abnormal lymphocyte called the Reed-Sternberg cell.

3. Multiple Myeloma

Myelomas, also known as multiple myeloma, is the cancer that affects the plasma cells, which are responsible for forming disease-fighting antibodies in humans. These are a type of white blood cell. Myeloma is also known as multiple myeloma since the malignant plasma cells are often present at multiple locations.

Because the production of the plasma cells is affected in multiple myeloma, the patient suffers from a severely weakened immune system and is prone to infections. 

Myeloma can be further of different types, depending on the type of heavy and/or light chain antibodies that the affected plasma cells produce.

Cost of Blood Cancer Treatment Procedure Wise in India

Type of Treatment Minimum Cost Average Cost Maximum Cost
Diagnostics $800 $2500 $4500
Chemotherapy $300 per cycle $800 per cycle $1500 per cycle
Immunotherapy $1200 per cycle $4500 per cycle $6000 per cycle
Targeted Therapy $1000 per cycle $2000 per cycle $4500 per cycle
Bone Marrow Transplant $16000 $25000 $45000
Radiation Therapy $3800 $4800 $6500

Factors Affecting the Blood Cancer Treatment Cost in India 

Blood cancer is a complex diagnosis and therefore, its treatment has to be carefully planned and executed, by a well-experienced hematology team headed by a hemato-oncologist. 

Because of the nature of the treatment, the duration, and a lot of other complexities involved, there are several factors that overall affect the cost of blood cancer treatment. 

Some of the most common factors affecting the cost of blood cancer treatment include the following:

  • Type of blood cancer
  • Rate of spread 
  • The stage at which the patient has been diagnosed
  • Clinical status of the patient 
  • Family history 
  • Treatment history 
  • Severity of symptoms 
  • Type of diagnostics advised 
  • Type of treatment/regimen advised 

Some of the other factors such as patient location and demographics and geographical availability of the treatment also matter in terms of the overall cost of treatment that a patient is likely to pay.

For example, if a person is located in a country or an area where, due to lack of infrastructure, it is impossible to get diagnosed or treated properly. So there is no option but for the patient and his/her family members to travel to the nearest location or country where proper diagnostics and treatment can be carried out. Now since travel is involved and the duration of treatment is long, it does have some cost implications from a logistical point of view.

Treatment Options for Blood Cancer Treatment in India

There are many parameters that are taken into consideration before planning for the treatment of patients. 

Some of the factors that are taken into consideration before subjecting the patient to any type of treatment for blood cancer include the following: 

  • Current blood cell counts 
  • Symptoms 
  • Overall health and clinical status 
  • Type of blood cancer 
  • Stage of cancer 
  • Genetic test results 

Blood cancer treatment in India is available at several multi-super specialty hospitals. In fact, many patients from countries around the world travel to India for treatment of blood cancer in India because of the fact that almost all new techniques and approaches used for treatment are available.

The following are some of the most common forms of blood cancer treatment available in India: 

1. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs with the potential to kill cancer cells. It is usually administered directly into a vein through an intravenous drip and from there, the drug circulates in the blood. 

This treatment is usually administered on an outpatient or daycare basis. That is, the patient is admitted in the morning to receive a bagful of fluid containing a single drug or a combination of drugs intravenously and then discharged in the evening. Sometimes, especially in the case of children, hospital admission may be necessary to receive the drugs to enable better monitoring and care.

The chemotherapy drug dosage is usually split into a few cycles, which are given at an interval of 7/14/21 days. The combination of drugs received by the patient is primarily decided on the basis of the type of blood cancer that the patient is suffering from, the overall physical status, etc.

2. Immunotherapy 

Immunotherapy 

This is a relatively newer type of treatment in which the doctors give certain drugs to harness the capability of the immune system of the patients to fight the abnormal blood cancer cells. It also boosts the functioning of the immune system in the patients. 

Monoclonal antibody treatment is one common form of immunotherapy that is available and applied in India. Rituximab is one common immunotherapy drug used in patients. 

The immunotherapy drugs work by attaching itself to the cancer cells, which makes it easier for the body’s natural immune system to identify it as a foreign cell, and therefore, it kills it. 

Another type of immunotherapy technique available is CAR-T cell therapy, which is a newer form of treatment. In this type of treatment, patient’s own T-cells are genetically modified to boost their capacity to identify and kill cancer cells. This therapy, at the moment, is not available in India. 

3. Targeted Therapy 

Targeted Therapy 

Targeted therapy works by identifying the genetic mutations or changes in the cancer cells and thereby targets the cells on the basis of it. These are drugs that are usually given intravenously, either along with chemotherapy or as a standalone treatment. 

4. Bone Marrow Transplantation 

Bone Marrow Transplantation 

Bone marrow transplantation is a complex and intensive procedure that involves long hospitalization. In this treatment, the diseased stem cells contained inside the bone marrow are replaced with healthy, blood-forming stem cells. 

All blood cells once stem cells in their early stages of development. Blood cancer eventually results when something goes wrong during their development and eventually, it develops into blood cancer. 

A bone marrow transplant, also known as stem cell transplant, is a treatment that can be applied to certain types of blood cancer patients. Often, such patients receive chemotherapy first to destroy the diseased blood cancer cells and the abnormal stem cells. Then, once the patient is in remission or disease-free state, he or she receives a fresh set of healthy stem cells that migrate and start functioning by producing healthy blood cells. 

A bone marrow transplant can also be required once a patient receives high-dose chemotherapy. This is because chemotherapy destroys diseased as well as healthy bone marrow, which ultimately has to be replaced. 

The following are the types of bone marrow transplants available and recommended on the basis of the patient’s diagnosis and condition: 

  • Autologous bone marrow transplant  – The patient’s own stem cells are retrieved, stored, and then used after chemotherapy has been given 
  • Allogeneic bone marrow transplant – The stem cells come from a genetically (HLA) identical donor 
  • Haploidentical bone marrow transplant – The stem cells come from a half-matched genetically (HLA) identical donor, which is usually a mother, father, or sibling.

5. Radiotherapy 

Radiotherapy 

Radiotherapy is sometimes used as a part of the overall treatment protocol for patients suffering from Lymphoma. In this treatment, high-energy rays are targeted at the area where blood cancer cells are accumulated, primarily certain lymph nodes. Doing so helps kill the cancer cells which also controls the pain associated with cancer.

How a Donor is Matched with the Patient for a Bone Marrow Transplant?

The allogeneic transplant involves transplanting bone marrow from a donor. Before this process can begin, certain tests have to be performed to confirm that the donor is a suitable match. This is important to minimize the chances of side effects like GVHD or graft vs host disease.

GVHD arises when the immune system of the patient recognizes the donor’s transplanted tissue as foreign and begins attacking it. This can even make the condition life-threatening. The healthcare team tests the physical fitness of the donor. To prevent a mismatch, HLA typing is performed.

This is the most important test used to determine if the donor is a match for the patient. HLA or human leukocyte antigens are proteins present on the surface of most of the cells inside your body. The immune system uses these as markers to identify if the cells belong in your body or not. HLA match between the patient and donor minimizes the risks of side effects. HLA testing can be done from a blood sample or a cheek swab.

Tests Conducted Before Blood Cancer Treatment in India

There are several diagnostic tests that are required to be done before a firm diagnosis can be established and the treatment protocol for the patient can be decided. 

Some of the tests that are required to be completed before the diagnosis of the patient can be concluded include the following:

  • Physical examination and observation
  • Biochemistry tests (blood tests)
  • Bone marrow biopsy 
  • Lymph node removal and biopsy
  • Radiological imaging tests, including X-ray, PET scan, and CT/MRI scan

There may be some additional tests that may be required on the basis of the clinical status and past medical history. These tests may or may not be directly linked to blood cancer. 

The biopsy is essential for the staging of cancer, which is an important parameter to know the extent and severity of cancer. This is generally achieved by measuring the size and location of the tumor and correlating the information with the results of the other investigations.  

Since blood cancer is different from solid tumors, it uses a different staging system. This particular system takes into consideration the blood count, liver or spleen enlargement, size and number of abnormal cancerous cells, genetic mutations, and the extent of damage to the bone. The outcome of this assessment is then correlated with the information retrieved from the radiological scans. 

Apart from staging, grading of the blood cancer is performed in the case of lymphomas. Grading helps identify whether the cancer is high-grade, intermediate-grade, or low-grade. 

Symptoms and Causes of Blood Cancer

Irrespective of the type of blood cancer, some of the common symptoms include the following: 

  • Swelling in the lymph nodes 
  • Frequent, severe, or recurrent infections 
  • Weakness and unexplained weight loss 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Skin redness, itching, or rashes
  • Persistent and chronic fatigue 
  • Bone pain or joint pain 
  • Unexplained fever 
  • Night Sweat 
  • Excessive bruising or bleeding that does not stop 
  • Chest pain or abdominal pain 
  • Coughing 
  • Loss of appetite and nausea

Depending on the blood cancer type, the patient may suffer from other symptoms as well. It is important for patients to report any unusual symptoms to their local doctor to undergo thorough diagnostic tests. This is especially true if the symptoms persist for more than a few days or if they recur after an interval. This becomes all the more important if the patient has a history of hematological or any other genetic disorders. 

All types of blood cancers, even those that are inherited, are a result of genetic mutation in the normal DNA in the blood cells. These mutations may result because of a variety of reasons, including the following: 

  • Exposure to certain industrial chemicals and radiation 
  • Advancing age 
  • Excessive smoking 
  • Family history of blood cancers or any other form of cancer
  • Previously received cancer treatment 
  • History of autoimmune disorders 
  • Weakened immune system 
  • Presence of genetic disorders

There are certain other factors such as the race of the person and body mass index that is believed to increase the risk of blood cancers.

Blood Cancer Survival rate in India

The blood cancer survival rate in India depends on a lot of factors. On average, it may range anywhere from 60 to 90 percent. 

The reasons that dictate the blood cancer survival rate in India, include the following: 

  • Age of the patient 
  • Stage and grade of cancer 
  • Type of blood cancer 
  • Family history 
  • Past medical history 
  • Clinical status of the patient 
  • At which stage cancer has been diagnosed

Hospitals for Blood Cancer Treatment in India

The following are some of the best hospitals for blood cancer treatment in India:

1. Artemis Hospital, Gurugram

Artemis Hospital, Gurugram

Artemis Hospital is the first JCI and NABH -accredited hospital in Gurgaon, Artemis Hospital offers advanced treatments with world-class facilities. It has a team of expert doctors who have received training at some of the best universities in the world. Equipped with 400 beds and state-of-the-art imaging facilities, it has set benchmarks for delivering quality care to patients. The hospital has a dedicated Oncology department consisting of experienced and well-trained hemato- oncologists who provide effective and timely blood cancer treatment to patients. Artemis Hospital believes in delivering comprehensive cancer care to patients from all over the world. Also, international patients receive the necessary support from the hospital to make their treatment journey smoother.

2. Fortis Hospital, Noida

Fortis Hospital, Noida

Fortis Hospital one of the most reputed hospitals in India, Fortis Hospital continues to deliver excellent healthcare to its patients from around 40 different countries. It is a multispecialty hospital consisting of a dedicated center for Oncology. A JCI and NABH -accredited hospital, it has an international team of highly-skilled and well-trained doctors. Fortis hospital has many modern facilities along with more than 7 operation theaters and 200 beds. The Oncology department provides all types of treatments for different types of cancers including blood cancer.
The advanced techniques used in the department allow for the early detection and effective treatment of blood cancer.

3. Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket

Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket

Max Super Specialty hospital is one of the most advanced and renowned hospitals in the country. It also specializes in providing post-surgery care to patients. Having received NABH and JCI accreditation, Max SuperSpecialty Hospital has a track record of successfully treating around 34 lakh patients.
It provides the highest quality of patient care with the use of up-to-date therapeutics and diagnostics. Its Cancer care center is one of the best in the country. The center has a dedicated medical staff of highly- skilled doctors and nurses. Max SuperSpecialty Hospital is also one of the first hospitals in India to acquire the facility of Novalis Tx for Radiosurgery. The presence of modern equipment along with other treatments like chemotherapy makes its cancer center one of the most revered in the country for blood cancer treatment.

4. Nanavati Max Hospital, Mumbai

Nanavati Max Hospital, Mumbai

Bestowed by AHPI with the award of  “Patient-friendly hospital”, the Nanavati Max Super Specialty Hospital is a one-of-a-kind medical facility that offers unprecedented modern treatments and superior care to its patients. The hospital has 350 beds and is staffed with more than 350 consultants and 100 resident doctors who have vast experience in treating complex conditions. With NABH accreditation, the hospital has around 150 globally recognized super specialties. Its center for hematology and bone marrow transplant offers excellent services for patients suffering from various blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. The center provides critical care services and recent treatments for patients.

5. Medanta – The Medicity, Gurugram

Medanta- the Medicity, Gurugram

Located in the vibrant city of Gurugram, Medanta- the Medicity follows the principles of commitment and compassion while delivering treatments to its patients. Medanta consists of a dedicated and well-qualified medical staff who work day and night to bring the best quality of care to patients. Accredited by JCI and NABH, the hospital provides affordable and ultra-modern treatments to patients from more than 15 countries across the globe. It is a multispecialty facility equipped with the most advanced equipment and treatments. The Cancer Center at Medanta uses a holistic approach to treat cancers like blood cancer. Its hemato-oncologists are internationally trained and adept at performing different treatments like chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation to successfully treat cancers.

Qualifications Required for Doctors to Perform Blood Cancer Treatment in India

Blood cancer treatment is provided by doctors who have specialization in treating blood cancers. These involve hematologists and oncologists. These specialists start their professional journey with an MBBS degree followed by training in blood disorders or treating cancers including blood cancer. Some of the qualifications they hold include

  • DM in Hematology
  • DM in Oncology
  • DNB in Hematology
  • MCh in Oncology
  • DNB Hematology, DNB in Hematopathology 
  • DM in Clinical Hematology 
  • Ph.D. Medical Oncology

Best Doctors for Blood Cancer Treatment in India

Some of the best doctors for blood cancer treatment in India include the following:

1. Dr. Pawan Kumar Singh

Designation: Hemato-oncologist, Head of Hemato Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Artemis Health Institute, Gurugram
Experience: 21 years

 

Dr. Pawan Kumar Singh | Best Haemato Oncologist in India

Qualifications: MBBS, MD

  • Dr. Pawan Kumar Singh is a hemato-oncologist who has completed his education at King George’s Medical College, Lucknow, and AIIMS, Delhi.
  • He has a successful record of performing more than 700 bone marrow transplant procedures.
  • He specializes in treating conditions such as aplastic anemia, thalassemia, and autoimmune conditions.
  • Dr. Pawan Kumar can perform procedures like lumbar punctures, bone marrow aspiration, and PICC line insertion.
  • Dr. Pawan Kumar has many published papers in scientific journals and has been a part of many clinical trials.

2. Dr. Ashok Vaid

Designation: Hemato oncologist, Chairman, Medical and Hemato oncology at Cancer Institute, Medanta, Gurugram
Experience: 27 years

 

Dr. Ashok Vaid | Best Medical Oncologist in India

Experience: 27 years

Qualifications: MBBS, MD, DM

  • Dr. Ashok Vaid is a Padma Sri awardee, one of the most prestigious civilian awards in India. He has several years of experience as a hemato-oncologist.
  • He has completed his medical education at prestigious institutes like Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai, and Govt. Medical College, Jammu.
  • He has expertise in treating conditions like leukemias, lymphomas, and solid tumors.
  • He is a pioneer in the field of bone marrow transplantation and was one of the first to perform 25 bone marrow transplants in a hospital.
  • He is well-known for conducting over 40 clinical research projects at national and international levels.

3. Dr. Divya Bansal

Designation: Consultant Hematology and BMT, Manipal Hospital, Dwarka
Experience: 10 years

 

Dr. Divya Bansal | Best Hematologist in India

Experience: 10 years

Qualifications:  MBBS, DNB, DM

  • She is a well-known hematologist with extensive experience in treating various hematological disorders.
  • Dr. Divya Bansal is proficient in managing conditions like multiple myeloma, acute myelogenous Leukemia, and sickle cell disease.
  • She has completed her medical training at top institutes in India like AIIMS(DM) and Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College(MBBS, DNB).
  • She can perform bone marrow stem cell transplantation efficiently, both allogeneic and autologous.
  • She is a member of several professional associations like the Indian Society of Hematology and Blood transfusion, the Delhi Medical Association, and the Indian Medical Association.

4. Dr. Vinod Raina

Designation: Medical Oncologist. Chairman, Medical Oncology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram
Experience: 40 years

 

Dr. Vinod Raina | Best Medical Oncologist in India

Experience: 40 years

Qualifications: MBBS, MD

  • Dr. Vinod Raina is a renowned medical oncologist with extensive experience in working at some of the best hospitals in the country.
  • He has completed his education at AIIMS, New Delhi(MBBS Aand MD) and is also a member of the royal college of Physicians, UK.
  • He specializes in treating conditions like lymphoma, lung cancer, breast cancer, and GI malignancies.
  • Dr. Vinod Raina is adept at performing procedures like stem cell and bone marrow transplants and has performed over 400 bone marrow transplants to date.
  • He has around 200 publications in reputed scientific journals and has supervised 50 research projects at AIIMS.

5. Dr. Mitu Papneja Shrikhande

Designation: Senior Consultant Hemato oncology and BMT, Fortis Flt. Lt. RaDhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
Experience: 26 years

 

Dr. Mitu Papneja Shrikhande | Best Hematologist in India

Qualifications: MBBS, DNB, MD

  • Dr. Mitu Shrikhande is an expert in treating both malignant and benign blood diseases like multiple myeloma, lymphomas, and leukemias.
  • She has received her education from the best institutes like AFMC and AIIMS.
  • She can successfully perform stem cell transplants.
  • Her research work on stem cells has been published in various scientific journals.
  • She provides counseling to patients for the management of their conditions.

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Why Choose India for Blood Cancer Treatment

There are several reasons that make India a lucrative destination for blood cancer treatment. Some of the top reasons include the following: 

  • State-of-the-art hospitals with infrastructure, diagnostic and treatment facilities as required by the patients
  • Highly qualified hematologists and hemato-oncologists, many of them are trained from some of the best institutes in the world and are a part of prestigious professional organizations 
  • The cost of blood cancer treatment in India is much less compared to other countries offering the same treatment options, technology and standard of care 
  • India is well-connected to the rest of the world through direct and indirect flights
  • Since blood cancer treatment generally involves a long duration of stay, the low cost of living in India does not have a significant impact on the budget of the patient 

How Can MediGence Assist You in Your Treatment Journey

MediGence assists you on every step of your treatment journey. The following are some of the ways in which our patient advisor and operations manager is engaged throughout the journey to assist you better: 

  • Proposing the best options for treatment overseas 
  • Scheduling a video consultation call with the treating doctor or team 
  • Suggesting the best time to travel, based on urgency 
  • Explaining everything about the treatment options and the costs involved
  • Sending a comprehensive treatment plan document with all information related to the clinical team, logistics arrangement, duration of stay, etc. 
  • Assisting with visa and other travel arrangements 
  • Booking appointments and coordinating for local transportation, accommodation, airport pick up, etc.
  • Guide on post-operative or post-treatment care required by the patient

FAQ’s

The average survival rate in case of leukemia is between 60 and 80 percent. The overall survival could be more or less, depending on factors such as age of the patient, type of leukemia and the stage of cancer.

It is possible to control the spread of CML. In some cases, it is possible to completely cure it as well. However, it is best to discuss the prognosis and outcomes with the treating doctor at the time of discussion related to the treatment plan.

Cancer is not contagious and therefore, it cannot be transferred from one patient to another. However, it can be inherited in certain cases. 

Yes, It is possible to treat blood cancer completely in certain cases. However, the rate of success can only be determined on the basis of proper assessment of the patient, clinical status, treatment history, age, blood cancer type and several other parameters.

The hospital stay depends on the type of treatment that the patient is receiving. It may range from a couple of days to about one month, depending on the treatment type. To complete the entire course of treatment, the patients are required to stay, on average, for about two to three months.

Apart from the treatment cost, the patient and the family members are expected to bear the cost of accommodation for their stay in the country, the feeding cost, the cost of discharge medicines, and any additional expenses associated with the treatment of a new diagnosis or complications arising out of the health situation.

Last modified on at Sep 02, 2022

Reviewed By :- Megha Saxena

Guneet Bhatia

Guneet Bhatia is an avid reader, healthcare writer, and is currently Director of Patient Care Department, MediGence. She has also been featured on many prominent Healthcare portals such as IBTimes, HCIT Expert, Clinician Today.

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