A Quest to Complete the Circle of Cancer Care
A Quest to Complete the Circle of Cancer Care
Jayshree Kanther Patodi
Nov 27, 2021

In 2020, cancer burden in India stood at a cumulative of 14 Lakh cancer patients and this number is projected to increase to 15.68 lakh by 2025. Every year around 10 lakh individuals are diagnosed with cancer. 70% of patients out of these suffer from late-stage cancer due to many factors like late diagnosis, low accessibility to care, relapse of cancer and inability to afford treatments. There are only ~2300 oncologists (estimated) in India. This has led to a major deprivation in the accessibility of cancer care along with a heavy financial burden on patients and their families as they travel to cities for access. With the unfortunate increasing load of this disease, there is a strong need to support cancer patients - helping them access remotely, recover effectively at a lower cost and manage their lifestyle.

In cancer care, patients tend to consult multiple doctors, take second opinions - are constantly looking for information and support that can help them recover and prevent a relapse. Moreover, medical treatment generally leads to severe side-effects that patients find difficult to manage. Integrative Oncology helps patients by managing the disease more effectively and focusing on complete care including management of side effects through better nutrition, emotional support, exercise and alternative therapies.

Globally, cancer centres such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre and MD Anderson, both in the USA, are leading providers of integrative care for cancer. In India, ZenOnco.io is differentiated on three major fronts: one, its integrative and holistic approach, two technology led enabling remote access and three, the strong foundation and community support built by its founders. 

Zenonco.io is building its product along the verticals of community, comprehensive treatment support, and relevant products and services. It provides solutions such as access to clinically researched alternative therapies, nutritionists and dieticians, facilities to buy nutraceuticals, connect with a community of cancer patients and survivors for better emotional healing, as well as access to medical treatment (Chemotherapy) and drugs at lower costs. Zenonco.io follows protocols provided by the Society for Integrative Oncology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Beyond Conventional Therapies and validated sources for complementary care of cancer patients.

ZenOnco.io was born when one of the founders, Dimple Parmar, lost her husband to cancer. During the treatment, she discovered too many gaps in the entire cancer care process and its adverse effects across socio-economic strata and started an NGO – Love Heals Cancer – with her husband to help BPL cancer patients. Kishan Shah, her co-founder, has been her batchmate at IIM-C. Kishan went on to work for J.P. Morgan and GIC and later joined Love Heals Cancer in December 2018. The two founded ZenOnco.io in 2019 as they realized there were too many gaps in the cancer care journey of patients across income groups and social strata and aspired to support Indian cancer patients in gaining better and more affordable access to integrative oncology.

In two years, ZenOnco.io has already supported more than 40,000 patients. While ZenOnco.io’s products and processes are strongly driven by data and technology, the founders are able to balance it with passion, empathy, and commitment, thus bringing forth a pronounced human angle. 

With multiple studies highlighting the value of integrative oncology in improving treatment outcomes, helping manage side effects, and positively impacting the lives of cancer patients, it is evident that cancer treatment in India is poised for transformation. As cancer care becomes more comprehensive, nuanced and empathetic, pioneers like ZenOnco.io stand a strong chance to experience stellar traction and growth in the days to come. 

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