Liver cancer: Treatment facilities not enough to cater to demand, say experts

Speakers say only 10% of patients diagnosed every year can be accommodated at existing facilities

Our Correspondent October 16, 2015

LAHORE: The number of liver cancer patients in the country has the last doubled over two decades. The treatment facilities available are not enough to cater to meet the demand, said speakers at a seminar on Friday.

The seminar, Prevention and Treatment of Liver Cancer, was held at the Government College University (GCU) Lahore. It was jointly organised by the GCU Biological Society and the Cancer Care Hospital and Research Centre (CCHRC) Lahore.

College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan Dean Dr Shaharyar said there was an urgent need to increase the number of cancer care facilities. He said every year 300,000 more patients needed cancer treatment. The existing facilities could cater to no more than 10 per cent of the new patients, he said.

He urged the public to adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent the disease. He said hepatitis B and C infections were the leading cause of liver cancer, followed by smoking and alcohol consumption. He said among the liver cancer patients he had treated 90 per cent had been smokers. Dr Ehsanur Rehman, an oncologist at Churchill Hospital, United Kingdom, said if concerted efforts were not made at the global level liver cancer could become an epidemic. He said one out of every three people in the world was infected with hepatitis virus. He said 40 per cent of those affected with hepatitis B and 60 per cent of those affected with hepatitis C were at risk of developing liver cancer.

Dr Riazur Rehman, a clinical oncologist at Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, briefed the audience about symptoms of the disease and its treatment options. He said the survival rate of those with liver cancer was very low. He urged the audience to be careful in selection of a dentist to their oral hygiene needs. He said contact with tools that were not sterilised was a major cause of spread of hepatitis virus. GCU Vice Chancellor Dr Hassan Amir Shah was also present on the occasion.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2015.


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