Cancer is a life-threatening disease with increasing global disease burden. In 2008, approximately 12.7 million cancer cases were diagnosed globally and the incidences will continue to rise to 21 million by 2030 due to smoking, unhealthy life styles, food habits and pollution. In Sri Lanka, a total of 16511 patients were newly diagnosed according to government cancer treatment centres. Between the years 2001 and 2008, breast, oral cavity, esophagus, cervix, lungs, thyroid, colon & rectum, lymphoma, ovary and leukemia were the 10 most common cancers identified.
Sri Lanka has a number of specialty centers for treatment of cancer. RemediumOne works closely with these centers on a number of academic and industry sponsored clinical trials in oral cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and many more.
Oral squamous cell carcinoma or Oral Cancer is ranked as the number one malignancy in Sri Lanka taking the lives of 3-4 citizens from low socio-economic backgrounds every day. National Cancer Registry 2008 stated that oral pharyngeal cancer contributed to 12.8% of total cancers reported in the country and is caused by chewing betel. Betel quid mainly tobacco and arecanut are very harmful carcinogens. According to the National Cancer Registry 2008, oral pharyngeal cancer contributed to 12.8% of all reported cancers in Sri Lanka and carries the highest mortality rate among different types of cancers (3 deaths per day).
Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in the world estimating 14.1 million cases in 2012 where 7.4 were men and 6.7 were women. By 2035 this number is predicted to rise to 24 million. Incidences of colon cancer in Sri Lanka are increasing rapidly with a national crude annual incidence at 3.2 per 100 000 in women and 4.9 in men. More than 28% of colorectal cancer patients were below 50 years of age where the median age at presentation was 60 showing similar occurrences in both men and women. The survival rate of Sri Lankans with colon cancer at 2 years and 5 years is 69% and 52% respectively pointing out the need for early detection.
In 2011, globally over 508 000 women died of breast cancer making it the most commonly found cancer among women in developed and less developed countries. In North America, Sweden and Japan breast cancer survival rates are over 80% while in middle income countries and low income countries it is 60% and 40% respectively. According to Globan (2008), 50% of the breast cancer cases and 58% of deaths were observed in less developed countries owing to lack of early detection and awareness programmes along with inadequate diagnosis and treatment facilities. Sri Lanka is no stranger to this phenomenon where 30% of diagnosed breast cancer patient die early due to late diagnosis. The incidence of breast cancer in Sri Lanka is 7.7 per 100 000 with 1500 cases diagnosed annually. While ageing is the main risk factor, other risks include previous history of breast cancer, use of hormone replacement therapy, high cholesterol and obesity.