ISLAMABAD: More people register at the Nuclear Medicine Oncology & Radiotherapy Institute (NORI) every year which was a cause for concern.
This was stated by Muneera Naeem, a cancer survivor and wife of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) chairperson while addressing a seminar on ‘Breast Cancer- A treatable disease’ organised at NORI.
Pink Ribbon opens Karachi chapter to support patients of breast cancer
“The World Mammogram Day is the right time for cancer survivors to share their experience with the newly diagnosed patients,” she said.
A cancer survivor herself, Naeem expressed satisfaction with treatment facilities at NORI and said that cancer treatment was a serious issue and its strategy can only be planned by qualified doctors in multidisciplinary meetings.
“Early diagnosis and timely treatment is key to curing cancer and this message should be spread far and wide,” she concluded.
Earlier, NORI Director Dr Mohammad Faheem briefed participants about the services provided at the centre and the 17 other Atomic Energy Cancer Hospitals. PAEC runs 18 cancer hospitals across the country. One hospital in Gilgit and another in Mardan are currently under construction. Annually, the centres provide diagnostic and treatment facilities to around 850,000 patients at these public sector hospitals.
Dr Faheem warned against the use of tobacco, stressing that a third of cancers can be prevented by quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Dr Humera Mahmood, the head of the Oncology department, NORI talked about early diagnosis.
She said that there was no national cancer registry for doctors to check the history of patients. However, NORI had built its own computerised cancer registry which showed that most of the patients at the centre complain of breast cancer.
Dr Mahmood added that breast cancer makes up for around 33 per cent of all cancers reported among women, and constitutes 17 per cent of all cancers reported.
Despite the fact that breast cancer is so common, most people do not know about it owing to lack of awareness, poverty, social and cultural taboos.
She advised that lady health workers should be trained in self-examining breasts and educate the masses.
‘40,000 women contract breast cancer every year’
Moreover, she was of the view that it should also be included in the curriculum at the matric and FSc level while undergraduate medical training should include basic oncology training.
Dr Rafia Toor, an oncologist and nutritionist, dispelled myths and misconceptions surrounding food intake during cancer treatment.
Breast cancer survivors shared their success stories bravely and confidently. They talked about how they were diagnosed, treated and cured and what were their feelings at the time of diagnosis and how those feelings changed after overcoming cancer.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2017.