Karachi, Feb 03: With a three-year global theme “I Am And I Will” announced by the Union of International Cancer Control world cancer day is begin celebrated across the globe on February 03 urging all communities and stakeholders to make a personal commitment towards its prevention and bringing down the numbers.
Health experts have identified oral cancer in men and breast cancer in women as commonest cancers in Pakistan. Oral cancer is caused mainly by pan, gutka, betal nuts and tobacco. Almost 30 to 50 percent of cancers can be cured if treated at very early stages for which timely diagnosis is crucial.
Experts expressed these views at a world cancer day awareness seminar organized by Medionix with support of National Institute of Child Health, Child Aid Association (CAA), Mohammadi Blood Bank, Consumer Rights Protection Council of Pakistan (CRPC) and Brookes Pharmaceuticals at auditorium of NICH.
Speakers included past president CAA & past director NICH surgeon Prof. Nizamul Hasan, professor of surgery, Liaquat National Hospital & Medical College Prof. Rufina Soomro, Director Atomic Energy Medical Centre, JPMC Dr. Mohammad Ali Memon, Director Monitoring & Evaluation, Sindh Healthcare Commission Dr. Mohammad Suleman Otho, ENT, Head & Neck Surgeon and Secretary General Pakistan Medical Association Centre Dr. Qaiser Sajjad, Oncologist KIRAN hospital and MMI Dr. Asghar H. Asghar, Chairman CRPC Shakil Baig, President CAA Tariq Shafi and CEO Medionix Akhtar Shaheen Rind. A group of students from HANDS CMW school headed by its principal Tasmina Qadir also participated in the seminar.
Delivering his presentation, Prof. Nizamul Hasan told that they have started cancer awareness program in schools and worried to see very young kids using betal nuts and other addictive stuff. Around two percent of children are suffering from cancer in Pakistan, however it can be well managed and treated successfully. Majority of cancer related deaths occurred not because of cancer but infections. Smoke, air pollution and other diseases can also cause cancer, he underlined.
Dr. Mohammad Ali Memon informed that around 70 percent of cancers are caused by infections which again remind us importance of cleanliness which is also told by our religion. More than 60 percent cancer cases are caused by HIV and hepatitis. We have 13 million hepatitis patients in the country. Pan, betal nut and tobacco are major causes of cancer here in our country. More than 10 million people using tobacco die every year in the world and 1,00,000 people among them are in Pakistan.
If we stop using such harmful products, we can save money to construct dams. We can prevent 30 to 50 percent of cases with help of modifiable risk factors including lifestyle, diet and physical activity. Preventable cancers include breast, liver, skin, cervical, lungs, colorectal and oral. For this, role of family physician is very important. They should timely suspect and diagnose cancer patients. Family physicians should advise public to avoid junk food and take healthy diet keeping their surroundings clean, he stressed.
Quoting World Health Organization, Dr. Mohammad Ali Memon told that 18 to 21 million new cases of cancers are reported worldwide every year while more than 9.5 million patients die of disease. Tobacco alone is responsible for 7 million deaths in the world and 1, 60,000 in Pakistan, he told.
Dr. Mohammad Sulemn Otho highlighted importance of healthy lifestyle and advised that everyone should work for 8 hours and take rest for 8 hours so he or she should be mentally fit as well.
Dr. Qaiser Sajjad showed pictures of patients suffering from cancer and urged public to immediately stop use of tobacco in any form. Oral cancer is number one in men which is mainly caused by pan, betal nut and gutka. People are afraid to undergo biopsy although it can confirm diagnosis. Cancer is not spread by undergoing biopsy. People should get it if advised by qualified doctors, he added.
It is very alarming that people dont consider it a bad habit to use tobacco and addictive stuff. Over 40 percent of men and 30 percent of women are using betal nuts in any form in Pakistan. Government should completely ban import of betal nut. Its sale should immediately be stopped within and outside schools. Media should also play its effective role for public awareness, he urged.
Dr. Asghar H. Asghar said that there are two major causes of death in the world and those are heart attack and cancer. Cancers can be prevented by taking all necessary measures as it is very painful disease, he added.
Prof. Rufina Soomro delivered her talk about risk factors of breast cancer, early diagnosis and self examination. One in 12 women is on risk of breast cancer. Its early diagnosis is very helpful in timely treatment. Every woman should do self examination of breasts and it is very easy. She should have her memogram in every two years as this will roll out its risk. Women usually are afraid to have memongram but it is very important to save breast by diagnosing at very early stages. This also reduces mortality rate, he informed.
Shakeel Baig said that adulteration is also a cause of concern in increasing number of cancer cases. Adulterated stuff affects kidneys and other body parts but still public is purchasing it happily. Quackery is also a big threat to increase this disease burden which should be dealt.
Speakers were presented shields on the conclusion of seminar.