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Oncologist Ravi Kannan R is Set to be Honored with the Ramon Magsaysay Award


  • Ravi Kannan R made the decision to leave a prestigious position in Chennai to serve in Silchar town of Assam. He is recognized for his significant contributions to pro-people health care and cancer treatment.
  • Ravi Kannan R, who is the director of the non-profit Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (CCHRC), will be the first recipient of this award from Assam. When he joined CCHRC, the hospital had limited facilities. Under his leadership, the hospital now boasts 28 departments encompassing oncology, pathology, radiology, microbiology, epidemiology, tumour registry, palliative care, and other specialized services. The hospital’s staff has grown from 23 individuals to 451 employees, as noted in the citation.
  • CCHRC introduced several pro-poor initiatives, including free treatment, accommodation, and food, as well as temporary employment for caregivers and a homecare program.


GS2- Social Justice- Health

GS3-Science- Diseases in news

Dimensions of the article:

  1. About cancer
  2. Prevalence of Cancer in India
  3. Government schemes that target cancer cases
  4. Way Forward
  5. Ramon Magsaysay Award

About Cancer:

  • Regarding cancer, it is a collective term encompassing a broad array of diseases affecting various parts of the body. Commonly referred to as malignant tumors or neoplasms, cancer entails the rapid proliferation of abnormal cells that surpass their normal boundaries, invading neighboring body parts and spreading to other organs—known as metastasis. Metastasis is a leading cause of death related to cancer.
  • Genetic changes disrupting the orderly cell growth process initiate cancer. These cells may accumulate to form a mass known as a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors do not spread, while malignant tumors are capable of growth and metastasis.

Cancer is categorized based on its origin within the body:

  1. Carcinomas: Begin in skin or tissue covering internal organs and glands, forming solid tumors. Examples include lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers.
  2. Sarcomas: Originate in tissues that support and connect the body, such as muscles, nerves, and bone.
  3. Leukemias: Affect blood cells and lead to their uncontrollable growth. Types include acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and chronic myeloid leukemia.
  4. Lymphomas: Cancer originating in the lymphatic system, with Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma as two primary subtypes.

Prevalence of Cancer in India:

  • Ravi Kannan R’s recognition aligns with the broader context of cancer in India. According to an ICMR study, one in nine Indians will develop cancer in their lifetime. While certain cancers, like cervical cancer, have declined due to factors like vaccination and improved hygiene, others such as breast cancer are on the rise due to factors like delayed marriage and changes in lifestyle.

Government schemes that target cancer cases:

  • The National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Stroke (NPCDCS) is being executed as part of the National Health Mission (NHM), focusing on activities at the district level.
  • Within the framework of Ayushman Bharat, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) is being put into practice to alleviate the financial burden experienced by underprivileged and vulnerable groups due to catastrophic hospital events. Its primary objective is to ensure access to high-quality healthcare services.
  • The National Cancer Grid (NCG) is a collaborative network comprising major cancer centers, research institutions, patient organizations, and charitable entities across India. Its mission is to establish consistent standards of patient care, promote cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, offer specialized training and education in oncology, and facilitate cooperative efforts in basic, translational, and clinical cancer research. This network was established in August 2012.
  • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) introduced a Pilot on Trade Margin Rationalization for 42 anti-cancer drugs in February 2020. This initiative aimed to make healthcare more affordable for individuals suffering from illnesses. As a result, drug prices saw a reduction, ultimately benefiting patients in need.

Way forward:

For the future, improving screening and treatment centers, strengthening linkages between screening and hospitals, and ensuring timely diagnosis and treatment remain crucial to reducing cancer-related mortality in the country. Coordination among existing government programs and the establishment of more cancer care facilities are also essential steps forward.

Ramon Magsaysay Award

  • The Ramon Magsaysay Award, established in 1957, is widely regarded as Asia’s most prestigious and highest honor. It is named in honor of Ramon Magsaysay, the third president of the Republic of the Philippines.
  • This award recognizes and celebrates individuals and organizations in Asia, regardless of their race, creed, gender, or nationality, who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and have generously contributed to the well-being of others without seeking public acclaim.
  • Traditionally, the awards were presented in five categories: Government service, public service, community leadership, journalism, literature, and creative communication arts, as well as peace and international understanding. However, since 2009, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation has been selecting awardees in the field of Emergent Leadership on an annual basis.
  • Recipients of the award are presented with a certificate, a medallion featuring an embossed image of Ramon Magsaysay, and a cash prize. This award holds international recognition and is often referred to as the Asian counterpart to the Nobel Prize.

April 2024