World Cancer Day was observed at Shifa International Hospital (SIH) in Islamabad under the theme ‘I Am and I Will’ to raise public awareness and access to early detection as well as a diagnosis for preventing deaths due to the disease, a spokesperson shared on Wednesday.
SIH Consultant Radiation Oncologist and Head of Radiation Oncology Department Dr Asif Masood said that worldwide, cancer is the third cause of death and according to 2018, World Health Organisation’s (WHO) data on Pakistan, 200,000 new cancer cases are being reported every year out of which 40 to 50 per cent of patients lose their lives because of late diagnosis and treatment.
Dr Masood said that breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in Pakistan and the second most common cancer is of the head and neck as lung cancer follows suit. He stressed the need for early detection, screening, and treatment to prevent a large number of deaths.
While explaining the treatment options for cancer, he said that it depends on the stage of cancer that includes surgery combined with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Dr M Farrukh, another Consultant Radiation Oncologist at SIH, reiterated that more than one-third of cancer cases can be prevented and another one-third can be cured if detected early and treated properly.
He explained the seven warning signs of cancer which are changes in bathroom habits, a sore that does not heal, unusual discharge and bleeding from natural orifices, thickness or lumps in the breast or other places, indigestion and difficulty in swallowing, obvious changes in moles or warts, and nagging cough and hoarseness.
While discussing preventive measures, he said that a simple lifestyle incorporating exercise for at least half an hour to maintain a healthy weight, avoiding processed food and adopting organic options, avoiding smoking and avoiding prolonged sun exposure are important things that can be adopted to minimise the risk of cancer.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2021.
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