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January 30, 2020

‘Early diagnosis of cancer can save lives’

Lahore

January 30, 2020

LAHORE: Speakers at a conference on cancer awareness have stressed the need to create awareness among people at large for early diagnosis of cancer to save precious lives.

The event was organised in connection with International Conference on Research on Oncology and Cancer Sciences and Pakistan-Cancer Awareness Programme (P-CAP) at Punjab University's Faisal Auditorium here on Wednesday.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Niaz Ahmad, Member National Assembly Dr Seemi Bukhari, Prof Dr Timothy Cox from Cambridge University, UK, Prof Dr James Shaymn from Michigan University, US, Faisalabad Medical University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zafar Ali Chaudhry, Co-Patron Prof Dr Arshad Cheema, Surgical Oncology Society of Pakistan President Prof Dr Haroon Javed Majid, Dr Zeeshan Danish, ICS Director Prof Dr Noshina Saleem, faculty members and a large number of students were present on the occasion.

Prof Niaz Ahmad said PU had established Cancer Research Group under which 35 different sub-groups were working to fight the disease. He said many patients detected cancer symptoms when they reached the final stage, thus, their survival became difficult. He said many lives could be saved if cancer was diagnosed at an early stage.

Prof Timothy Cox said tobacco smoking and oral cancer in men were two of the main reasons for premature deaths in Pakistan. Highlighting oral cancer prevention strategies, Prof Cox said capacity building, health education and oral health promotion must be focused. He said there should be a national cancer registry and we should involve healthcare personnel with appropriate training for early oral cancer diagnosis and referral. He also suggested girls self-examine and have tests for early diagnosis of breast cancer. He said, “We require combined cost-effective interventions to tackle highly preventable diseases.”

Prof Dr James Shaymn stressed the need to adopt healthy lifestyle and integrated cancer awareness strategies to cope with the fatal disease. Prof Dr Arshad Cheema said every ninth woman in Pakistan would develop breast cancer in her lifetime. He said that lung cancer was the most common cancer worldwide in men. He said 40 per cent of cancer could be prevented by not using tobacco, having a healthy diet, being physically active and preventing infections. He said smoking caused more than 16 types of cancers and every fifth cancer death was due to tobacco.

Prof Dr Zafar Ali Chaudhry said ignorance and denial were the real problems in fighting cancer. He said, “We don’t need to fear cancer as it is completely curable if detected at an early stage.”

He said excessive use of grilled or the food cooked directly on coal i.e. BBQ, pickle and highly salty food, use of various colours in food, tin-packed food, vegetables grown with polluted water, etc, could cause cancer.

Dr Seemi Bukhari said the government was paying special attention to the education and health sectors. She said nine new hospitals would be set up in Punjab and efforts were being made for creating a healthy society in Pakistan.

Dr Zeeshan Danish said it was his brainchild to launch Pakistan Cancer Awareness Programme (P-CAP) as awareness could prevent cancer and save precious lives. Later, the participants in the conference organised an awareness walk against cancer from Faisal Auditorium to Al Raazi Hall.