Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu noted that Indian systems like ayurveda should be explored as alternative solutions to prevent and treat cancers.
In his address at the Graduation Ceremony of Tata Memorial Centre, Naidu appealed for the promotion of cancer awareness and education among the masses to make them informed about various available treatment options.
"Cancer is a major public health concern in India and has become one of the 10 leading causes of death, and its treatment is also very costly," he said.
Naidu further urged the need to create awareness among the youth on the need to lead healthy lifestyles and avoid consumption of junk food, besides stressing the need to increase the number of palliative care centers in the country.
The Vice President asked medicos and medical students to stress on the need for maintaining sanitation and observing personal hygiene since lack of personal hygiene can cause infections like HPV which in turn has the potential to cause cervical cancer.
It is estimated that India's cancer burden is likely to increase from an approximate one million cases in 2012 to around 1.7 million by 2035.
The TMCH has witnessed a steady increase in the number of cancer cases registered, increasing from 53,000 in 2010 to 65,000 today, and 450,000 follow-ups.
Of the total, a staggering 40 percent of patients to the TMCH come from Maharashtra alone - including 15 percent from Mumbai - while the remaining 60 percent are from rest of India.
Maharashtra Governor C. V. Rao and other dignitaries of the TMC, which runs the premier Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital in Parel, were also present on the occasion.
Naidu gave away graduation certificates to the successful students and also released a navigation programme for patient care, KEVAT on the occasion.
According to TMC director R. A. Badve, the Advanced Diploma in Patient Navigation (KEVAT) would create a trained task force to facilitate the patient's journey right from entry to the hospital, to follow-up, and getting back to normalcy, taking care in addition to emotional, financial and other needs in a holistic manner.
The one-year full course, first of its kind in India, is being launched in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences with support from Tata Trusts.