Islamabad: World Cancer Day was observed at Shifa International Hospital (SIH) under the theme “I Am and I Will” to raise public awareness and access to early detection and diagnosis for preventing deaths due to the disease.
Dr. Asif Masood, Consultant Radiation Oncologist & Head of the Radiation Oncology Department at Shifa International Hospital, said that worldwide cancer is the third cause of death and according to 2018, World Health Organization’s data about Pakistan, 200,000 new cancer cases are being reported every year, out of which 40 to 50 percent of patients lose their lives because of late diagnosis and treatment. He said breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in Pakistan while 2nd common is a cancer of the head and neck while lung cancer is on 3rd number. Dr. Asif stressed the need for early detection, screening, and treatment to prevent a large number of deaths. While explaining the treatment options of cancer disease, he said that treatment depends on the patient’s stage of cancer that includes surgery combined with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Dr. M. Farrukh, Consultant Radiation Oncologist at SIH, said that more than one-third of cancer cases can be prevented and another one-third can be cured if detected early and treated properly. “By implementing resource-appropriate strategies, we can save up to 3.7 million lives every year,” he said. Dr. Farrukh 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 talking about preventing the disease Dr. Farrukh said that simple lifestyle, exercise at least for half an hour for maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding processed & fast foods and adopt organic fresh foods, avoid smoking, avoid too much sun exposure, reducing stress level and improve immunity are important things that can be adopted to minimize cancer risks.