KARACHI: With awareness about cancer and organ donation thousands of patients can be saved yearly, said the director of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), Dr Adibul Hasan Rizvi, at the 'World Cancer Day' event at its Hanifa Suleman Dawood Oncology Centre (HSDOC) on Thursday.
The event aimed to create public awareness about the ailment of cancer and to highlight preventive and curative measures.
It is better to create awareness among the general public on the disease and let them know what should be avoided, he explained. "Early detection of the disease can save a life," he said.
Sharing the data, Dr Rizvi said that the SIUT has treated over 5,000 patients of urinary bladder cancer, 3,000 kidney cancer patients, 2,000 prostate cancer patients and more than 3,000 others patients with cancer in the last eight years since HSDOC was established.
"A national institution on cancer is the need of the time," he urged, adding that this is the right time to establish such an institute to battle cancer.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Dr Rizvi said that at least 2,000 people died in Karachi annually in road accidents. "We are dying like flies," he claimed, adding that all the deceased are buried without donating their organs. "They could save the lives of thousands of patients [by donating organs]. Such people will remain alive in others," Dr Rizvi said.
Dr Syed Najeeb Naimatullah, a medical oncologist, said that there are general measures to reduce the risk of cancer, including choosing healthy options like quitting smoking, keeping physically active and opting for healthy foods and drinks. He briefed the participants on the beneficial aspects of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer at its early stages. "Cancer screening is mandatory, even before the appearance of its symptoms," he advised.
Owing to lack of awareness amongst the general public, people use chewable tobacco like gutka and chhalia. "Gutka is straight poison. Our children chew chhalia without knowing its consequences," claimed Dr Rizvi, adding that such items are easily available in the markets even at educational institutions. "The factories producing such items should be banned," he demanded.
Dr Babar Malik said, "Majority of patients fear the fatal consequences of chemotherapy." He said that patients who visit the institute for chemotherapy believe that they will not survive for much longer and will die because of it instead of due to the disease. "This is not true. They won't die," he said. "Some cancers are treated with chemotherapy," he explained.
"The treatment of cancer is very difficult but not impossible," Dr Malik explained, urging the need for family members to accompany the patient for chemotherapy for moral support.
He urged that there were no exact figures at any public or private hospital in Pakistan about specific kinds of cancer. "There is need of central registry," he said, explaining that with exact data medical experts will understand what kinds of patients are found in any particular area.
Cancer patients also shared their stories with participants as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2016.
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