04 February, 2012

World Cancer Day: Early diagnosis can beat killer disease

Sana Jamal

Islamabad – The disease, once known as fatal and haunting enough to bring images resembling death sentence in the minds of patients, is now curable if detected at an early stage. “Cancer is dreaded by most people but the truth is that the disease has emerged as a chronic one rather a fatal disorder” said Dr. Kamran Rasheed, Consultant Medical Oncologist at a health awareness seminar held at Shifa International Hospital (SIH).

Cancer can be averted by early diagnoses and healthier lifestyles. This was crux of the presentations of the eminent Oncologists at the seminar, held to observe World Cancer Day in Pakistan where the cancer specialists illustrated causes, treatment, symptoms and prevalence of cancer.
“Early detection means less invasive treatment, less trauma, less pain, less cost. In fact early disease detection is equivalent to curable disease” affirmed Dr. Badar us Salam, Consultant Surgeon.
However the threat from the disease remains strong as ever. “Cancer is on the rise in developing countries including Pakistan as it is expected to become a common cause of death worldwide by 2020” said Dr. Kamran Rasheed.

“Smoking is the leading cause of cancer in Pakistan,” while coal, smoke and pollution are also some of the reasons adding the number of cancer patients in Pakistan, underlined Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, notable scientist. Speaking at the seminar, Dr. Samar suggested that public hospitals should establish diagnosis centres for cancer specifically in rural areas to combat disease.

Highlighting the causes of cancer in Pakistan, Dr. Matiur Rehman, Consultant Medical Specialist, said that smoking and use of tobacco in the forms including pan, gutka, and chaliya are main causes of various types of cancers. “Smoking alone causes an estimated 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80 percent of all lung cancer deaths in women.”  30 percent cancer spread can be controlled by quitting the use of tobacco, he added.

“Tobacco, smoking, alcohol, inactive lifestyle, unhealthy diet, obesity, infections and sun exposure are some of the common causes of cancer that can be easily prevented by following healthy lifestyle and quitting bad habits” suggested Dr. Badar us Salam.

In a country like Pakistan, where provisions of basic necessities are still a dream for a large population, the only valid method of fighting cancer seems to be preventive measures and early disease detection.