Oral cancer has become the most common cancer among men in and around Karachi where gutka and other forms of chewing tobacco have wreaked havoc on people’s lives, and thousands of people each year die in the region from mouth or head and neck cancer. .
Of the 6,000 new cancer patients enrolled at the Karachi Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (Kiran) each year, about 35 percent of cases are oral cancer, which is increasing due to uncontrolled use of gutka, paan, chalia, naswaar, and tobacco. in some other form.
Most of these cancers can be prevented if we stop oral tobacco use and prevent smoking.
Instead of avoiding doctors and following the non-scientific advice of traditional healers, hakeems and religious believers, people should listen to qualified health professionals, and in the case of cancer, they should not hesitate to have a biopsy so that early treatment can be started, said the senior cancer specialist. and an oncologist while speaking at an awareness session hosted by Kiran in his place in connection with World Cancer Day 2021.
On this occasion, a large number of doctors, cancer sufferers and the general public held a demonstration and promised to adopt a healthy lifestyle to avoid various types of cancer.
Speaking at the awareness session, Dr Asghar Hussain, senior oncologist at Kiran, said there are more than 100 types of cancer in humans, but the most common cancer among men in Karachi and beyond is oral cancer while breast cancer is the most common cancer. among women in this country.
“About 35 percent of people who get cancer in Kiran each year have oral cancer, which is a preventable disease although some men who never use tobacco also develop oral cancer,” he said, adding that in other countries prostate cancer is the most common cancer. among men in Pakistan.
She said that in women, breast cancer is 30 percent of the total cancers they treat in Kiran and advises women not to ignore something different in their breasts and get screened for cancer so that in the case of breast cancer, early treatment can be started. which heals the patient 100 percent.
“In most cases, lifestyle modifications can prevent us from getting cancer. All we need is to live a healthy life, exercise every day, eat a healthy and balanced diet, get vaccinated against preventable diseases, avoid junk food and, most importantly, avoid the use of tobacco, alcohol, and all illegal drugs and narcotics. . “
Director Kiran Dr Akhtar Ahmed, in his speech, said that every year, around 180,000 new cases of cancer are registered in Pakistan which is a very large number. He added that over the past 30 years, the incidence of oral cancer has increased exponentially in Sindh, especially in Karachi and its surroundings.
He emphasized that due to the late diagnosis of cancer cases in Pakistan, the death rate in Pakistan is very high. He added that unfortunately, cancer patients approached doctors and specialized health care facilities very late and were in a serious stage of their disease.
He said Kiran will soon start cancer surgery with the help of the patient welfare community and benefactors, after which it will be a complete cancer treatment facility with all treatment options available under one roof.
Prof Nilofer Hashmi said women shouldn’t take breast cancer lightly, and if they feel anything unusual, they should approach an oncologist or any senior doctor and get screened so their treatment can be started as early as possible.
“In my case it was a painless lump and I ignored it for a long time until it became painful and it turned out to be a cancerous growth,” he added.
Head and neck surgeon Dr Shaukat Malik also spoke about the increasing incidence of oral cancer in Karachi. He said that currently cancer specialists, ENT surgeons and others who treat head and neck diseases routinely see cases of oral cancer.
President of the Kiran Aman Patient Welfare Society Kassim Machyara said prevention of disease was like worship and Islam asks followers to prevent themselves from harming themselves and others.
Several others, including Ghazal singers Salman Alvi, Saleem Tabani, and cancer sufferers Syed Asif Ali and Hameed also spoke at the occasion.