Monday July 15, 2024

Call for data collection to boost fight against cancer

By Zeeshan Azmat
April 08, 2016


At least 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year, out of which around eight million people die from several types of the disease.

In the developed world, one in every three persons are likely to be diagnosed with any type of cancer whereas in developing countries, one in five people die because of this disease.

These views were expressed by Dr Kulsoom Ghias during a public seminar titled “The War Against Cancer: Can We Win?” held at the Habib University on Thursday.

Dr Ghias, who has completed her PhD and post-doctoral training at the Northwestern University’s Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chicago, said that the authorities in Pakistan did not have any accurate data available related to this disease as there was no system to register cancer-related cases.

The lady, who is currently a faculty member in the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at the Aga Khan University Medical College, added that for almost decades, Pakistan had been playing a major role in war against terrorism, but the country was also paying huge prices for this.

She said that it was largely believe more cancer-related cases were surfaced in rural pars of the country than in urban localities due to various reasons, of which one was the lack of any proper heath care units and diagnostic centres in those locations.

According to her, the majority of cancer cases in the country were related to head and neck, lungs and colorectal whereas stomach and breast cancers were also on a rise in Pakistan.

“In the recent past, a two is to one ratio was observed between male and female having any type of cancer, but now it has reached to one is to one.”

She expressed that in major parts of the world, other diseases like smallpox, polio, heart-related issues and other fatal diseases had been under control for a long time, but deaths from cancers were still reported frequently.

“Cancer is still a major concern and challenge for the doctors, scientists and the whole world,” she said and added that a poor life style, carelessness and bad habits like consuming alcohol, smoking, chewing tobacco, betel nuts, gutka, infections were some the key elements of causing cancers.

Despite the fact that modern countries had an advantage of early diagnose of tumours or cancers, which was helpful in treatment of the disease, yet they could not overcome it completely, she informed the audience.

“The irony is that the tumours have the ability to hijack responses coming from the body as a result of treatment and after sometime, they managed to completely control those responses.”

During her presentation, she discussed the ancient history of the disease besides telling latest developments related to cancers and methods of treatments.

Dr Ghias urged that there was a dire need to spread more awareness about cancer and its different types.

“The youngsters and the school going children should be warned not to smoke and to adopt a healthy life style to stay away from such fatal diseases.”

 She also asked to set-up cancer registering centres so that actual figures could be recorded to carry out researches against cancer.

Dr Ghias also called for allocating funds to researchers, saying that a lot of money was required in doing research on different types of cancers.