Experts discuss ‘What is new in oncology’

Speakers at conference at SIUT say that cancer is the second leading cause of death globally


Press Release March 10, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Experts at the three-day international conference, currently in progress at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), said on Saturday that cancer happens to be the second leading cause of death globally.

Experts from within the country and abroad are participating in the conference jointly organised by SIUT and American Society of Oncology (ASCO), the theme of which is "What is new in oncology".

According to studies, cancer was responsible for the death of an estimated 9.6 million people in the previous year. Experts said that globally, about one in six deaths is caused by cancer and added that 70% of these deaths has been found to occur in low and middle income countries. Tobacco was declared the most important risk factor for cancer, which is responsible for approximately 22% of the cancer deaths.

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Expressing their concern on the causes of cancer, they said that tobacco use leads to the intake of many carcinogens - cancer causing chemical. They discussed the types of cancers like blood, lung, Oesophagus, Gastric, Kidney, Bladder, colon and rectum.

Experts representing SIUT, including Dr Narjis Muzaffar, Dr Najeeb Niamatullah and Dr Afshan Asghar, said that cancer was being treated at the institute since 1989, but to cater to the increasing number of cancer cases, SIUT had opened a dedicated oncology centre with the vision of providing free comprehensive cancer treatment for the public. The centre has been treating urological tumours and is now also treating non-urological cancers including breast, head and neck. Some blood cancers that are at early stages are also being treated.

Dr Frederick Smith from USA discussed the management of breast cancer and said that it was a chronic disease. He said that the women diagnosed with breast cancer are now living longer due to new treatment options.

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Giving a lecture on post-transplant cancer, Dr Muzaffar Qaziblash from USA, said that due to the suppression of their immune system, the post-transplant patients develop different cancers, which are mainly driven by virus and can be managed by chemotherapy and targeted therapy.

Highlighting the prevalence of prostate cancer, Dr Badar Mian from USA said that this ailment was a common disease especially in elderly population, but not everybody needs treatment. He added that only those patients who have aggressive form of the disease need to be treated.

Dr Pervaiz Rahman, Dr Khalid Matin and Dr Saima Sharif the visiting cancer specialist from the US discussed testicular cancer, gastric cancer and colo-rectal cancers respectively. They were of the opinion that incidence of cancer is increasing partly due to a change in lifestyle, but added that surgery, chemotherapy and new drugs promise better future and prospect for those affected.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2019.

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