Pakistan 7th most populous country with cancer patients: Experts

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The speakers at the awareness seminar on World Cancer Tuesday said that Pakistan was the 7th most populous country with increasing ratio of cancer patients.

According to the statistics shared by the Shifa International Hospital (SIH) experts, while addressing awareness seminar on “World Cancer Day” at Shifa International Hospital (SIH), show estimated cancer prevalence of 148,041 new cases, 101,113 cancer related deaths (48,449 Men and 52,664 Women) in 2012, and a prevalence of 344,243 living cancer patients.

However, the age standardized ratio was more in females (128 Women and 95 Men per 100,000 populations respectively).

In Pakistan, breast cancer and Lip or Mouth cancers were highest in ratios as compared to others, according to the data presented by Dr. Yasser Rahman (Consultant Medical Oncologist).

Around 9.6 million people die each year worldwide from cancer, more deaths than those caused by HIV/ AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis combined and if we no action was made World Health Organization experts project cancer deaths to rise to 13 million by 2030.

Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) was facing serious increase in cancer patients where the risk could be reduced through extensive awareness and education.

She made these remarks as chief guest while addressing awareness seminar on “World Cancer Day” at Shifa International Hospital (SIH) here. She commended efforts of Shifa International Hospital to spread awareness in masses for early detection and prevention of cancer.

Zartaj said during her social work at Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital, she noticed that every second patient suffering serious cancer complications was hailing from KP province.

“There is need to conduct research and detailed study on this situation as if there is any issue with the soil, water or the air that is causing huge number of masses affected due to cancer in the region,” she added.

The minister mentioned that every fifth women in Pakistan was suffering from breast cancer and was diagnosed at the critical stage which was hard to cure.

The President of Pakistan and the first lady had spearheaded the pink ribbon campaign to make awareness among the masses particularly women on breast cancer which was also joined by the parliamentarians and the media, she added.

She said the ministry of climate change was going to initiate a massive crackdown against Mercury hazardous whitening creams and cosmetics that were ripping off the human skin and causing skin cancer. Moreover, the action would also be launched against health hazardous mercury amalgam used in dental fillings, she added.

She also exhorted the youth to shun intake tobacco and drugs as 400 deaths per day were recorded in Pakistan due to smoking and drugs use.

“Every 3rd and 4th girl is involved in smoking which is health injurious and against our norms as we are a nation of fine morality, ethics and culture,” the minister added.

Zartaj said that tomorrow was Kashmir Solidarity Day which should be marked by every Pakistani to give a strong message to the world that Kashmir was an unfinished agenda of the partition of the sub-continent and UN resolutions.

Inspector General of Islamabad Capital Territory Police Aamir Zulfiqar Khan in his address as the guest of honour said cancer was a serious disease that incurred mental and financial pressure on the affected person and his family.

However, the doctors had the responsibility to treat and handle that patient with great care, adding, the role of family and friends in the process of looking after a cancer patient could not be undermined as it was critical for encouraging a cancer patient to fight this fatal disease, he added.

“The doctors and police officials have gradually reduced the sense of empathy among themselves for the affected masses which should be revived to better serve the humanity. We should be humble in our conduct as it definitely impacts the sufferers’ mind and health and help better cope with his or her miseries,” he added.

Dr. M. Furrukh (Consultant Radiation Oncologist, SIH) said that, more than one-third of cancer cases can be prevented. Another one-third can be cured if detected early and treated properly. He told that there were seven warning signs of cancer; Changes in bathroom habits, a sore that does not heal, unusual discharge and bleeding from natural orifices, thickness or lumps in the breast or other places, indigestion and difficulty in swallowing, obvious changes in moles or warts and nagging cough and hoarseness.