Debunking myth about cancer

In Pakistan, oral cancer in men and breast cancer in women are most common

Editorial February 06, 2019

Cancer does not kill. Cancer treatment has made great strides over the years. Cancer in children is fully curable and so are other cancers. Awareness needs to be raised about the fact that the disease is a curable by citing names of cancer survivors. For instance, Yuvraj Singh, a young Indian cricketer who represents his country at the international level, is a cancer survivor. This scribe knows many cancer survivors, both young and old. Even some of them who were detected with cancer at a very advanced stage of the disease have been successfully treated and they are living a healthy and normal life. Unfortunately a dangerous myth has been woven around the disease: it is death sentence which it is certainly not considering the continual advancements being made in cancer treatment. This sinister myth can only be broken by awareness campaigns. What is most important for successful treatment of the disease is early detection and willpower of the patients and sensible care by physicians and family. There are also some warning signals of the disease. If anyone notices these danger signals he or she should either consult a physician or go to a cancer detection centre. Much publicising these warning signs, however, might cause unnecessary panic.

In Pakistan, oral cancer in men and breast cancer in women are most common. Oral cancer is mainly caused by tobacco, gutka, betel-nuts and betel-leaves. Of all these, gutka, chewed by both men and women, is the most dangerous. Environmental pollution, lack of hygiene and lack of proper rest are also causes of cancer. So preventive measures both at societal and personal levels can go a long way in preventing the disease. 

Correction: Former caretaker prime minister Moeen Qureshi passed away in 2016. This editorial erroneously referred to him as still surviving with cancer. The error is regretted. Editor

Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2019.

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