ISLAMABAD, Feb 04 (INP): “Cancer is the second leading cause of death and direly needs attention of the government, media and health experts to create awareness amongst masses. Prevention and awareness can decrease overall healthcare cost of the country”, Dr. Tariq fazal Chaudhary, Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division said.
He was addressing the participants of an awareness seminar against cancer at Shifa International Hospital (SIH) on Thursday. Every year, on 4 February, World Cancer Day is marked, highlighting the health risks associated with cancer and advocating for effective policies to fight cancer. This year’s theme “We can. I can.” highlights that how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.
Dr. Tariq Fazal Chaudhary said that world cancer day is the ideal opportunity to spread the word and raise the awareness about cancer in public and in the world. He also appreciated the role of mainstream media and Shifa International Hospital for creating cancer awareness and alleviating myths about cancer. He advised masses and specially students and youth to raise questions about cancer and ask for answers. Stressing on the need to get tested for cancer; he said quakes were not the right place to treat a deadly disease like cancer. Cancer is not a social taboo. It’s preventable and it’s treatable, he stated. Dr. Tariq Fazal Chaudhary urged for living a simple life, consuming simple and healthy food and doing regular exercise to prevent cancer. Masses should know possible symptoms of cancer.
Consultant Medical Oncologist SIH, Dr. Kamran Rasheed said cancer occurs when cells in any part of the body begin to grow abnormally. Although there are many kinds of cancer, but they all develop because of uncontrollable growth of cells. He said cancer could be treated through various methods including surgery, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, targeted therapies and bone marrow transplant. But prevention is better than cure, Dr. Kamran remarked.
Dr. Kamran added that currently, 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide every year, out of which, 4 million people die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years)people over 30 years of age are more vulnerable to this disease.
Thickening or lump in the body, an injury that is not healing, unusual bleeding or discharge, indigestion or trouble swallowing, irritating cough and hoarseness, obvious changes in moles or warts, changing in bathroom habits, unusual weight loss, hunger loss and fever are some of the warning signs for cancer, and one must consult a doctor, he said.
He said cancer is any cell in the body which has become immortal and whose growth has become unchecked. It has the tendency to spread in different parts of the body. He said cancer is very serious disease but it can be avoided by adopting healthy lifestyle and indulging in physical activities and exercises. Dr. Kamran told the participants that cancer is 90 percent curable if it is timely diagnosed. “Treatment is more successful today than ever,” Dr. Kamran remarked.
Consultant Medical Oncologist and Breast Cancer Expert SIH, Dr.Saira Hassan said breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women worldwide. Pakistan has the highest incidence of breast cancer in entire Asia. “The best way to fight this cancer is to detect it early,” Dr. Saira remarked.
She said, “One in eight women is at the risk of developing breast cancer in her life”. She added that in majority women breast cancer is first noticed as a lump in the breast. However swelling of the upper arm or swelling or lump in the armpit can also be the signs of breast cancer. The best way to detect is to perform monthly breast self-exam (BSE), she informed the audience. She advised women to do self-examination for breast cancer. If you feel any lump then you should consult your doctor for further diagnosis and treatment, she said.
Consultant Radiation Oncologist SIH Dr. Muhammad Farrukh said estimated 32.6 million people are living with cancer worldwide. Pakistan is the 7th populous country with estimated cancer incidence of 1,48,041 new cases, 1,01,113 cancer related deaths (48,449 Men & 52,664 Women), and a prevalence of 3,44,243 living cancer patients are reported in the past 5 years.. The age standardized ratio is more in females (128 Women & 95 Men per 100,000 populations respectively).
While giving his presentation he informed that cancer was rapidly spreading in developing countries like Pakistan. He said that cancer would become a commonest cause of death by 2020. “The median age at diagnosis for cancer of all sites was 66 years of age,” Dr. Farrukh said. He added that cancer is the 2nd commonest cause of human deaths (12.6%) after cardiovascular diseases (15.1%) followed by road traffic accidents (9.7%), respiratory ailments (7.1%), and peri-natal conditions (5.4%).
Dr. Farrukh said that Cancer is the disease of 21st century. Smoking, shisha, alcohol, immune suppression, family history, environment, excessive exposure to sunlight, and infections are some of the risks for developing cancer disease. He said that timely screening, active and healthy life style and to avoid the avoidable risk factors can protect people from all types of cancer.