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February 22, 2019

Thyroid gland cancer on the rise in Pakistan, says Dr Seemin Jamali

Karachi

February 22, 2019

Endocrine diseases, especially thyroid diseases, are on the rise in Pakistan due to a variety of reasons and the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) is the only one public sector hospital in the country where highly-specialised endocrine surgical procedures are performed.

This was stated by Executive Director JPMC Dr Seemin Jamali while addressing a press conference at the Najmuddin Auditorium of the hospital on Thursday. Dean JPMC Prof Iqbal Afridi, Prof Naseem Baloch, Prof Shamim Qureshi, Dr Urooj Lal Rehman and other experts were also present at the occasion.

“Thyroid cancer is on the rise in Pakistan and patients from all over Pakistan are being referred to the JPMC for thyroid surgeries as the JPMC is the only public sector hospital where these specialised surgeries are performed. Every year, we perform around 600 thyroid surgeries,” Dr Jamali said.

She said that in order to keep their surgeons abreast of the latest thyroid gland surgery techniques the JPMC would hold the 6th Annual Surgical Week for Endocrine Diseases from February 25-28 at the hospital, adding that Prof Saba Balasubramanian from the United Kingdom and Prof Kepal Patel from the United States had been invited to train our doctors and surgeons so they could perform the surgeries as per the international standards.

The director said that for the last six years they had been holding an endocrine surgical training programme where international experts from all over the world trained our surgeons. “We may have some shortcomings like other public sector institutes, but we are serving thousands of patients from the entire Pakistan who have no other place to go for the treatment of their diseases,” she said.

An eminent surgeon and secretary of the surgical week, Prof Naseem Baloch, said thyroid diseases, especially thyroid cancer, apart from nuclear medicine, could only be treated through surgery.

“We were receiving a large number of patients with thyroid diseases that we were compelled to establish a separate surgical unit for the patients. Every day, we are seeing about 40-50 thyroid patients at our OPDs [outpatient departments].”

“Every year, over 400 surgeons from the entire Pakistan come to attend the training programme where international experts perform live surgeries, give lectures and discuss case studies,” the professor said.

He said patients visited unqualified practitioners and their cases became complicated. “I would strongly advise people to approach specialists as early as possible so that they could be diagnosed and treated before their disease becomes untreatable.”

Prof Afridi said thyroid diseases often led to mental illnesses, and urged the people to not ignore minor symptoms, including swelling in the neck, problems with swallowing, fatigue, weight loss and anxiety.

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