In last 25 years, Pakistan has witnessed a significant increase in number of cases of various kinds of cancers and the threat claimed not less than 100,000 lives in 2015. Studies reveal that every year, nearly 300,000 new cases of various kinds of cancers are reported from across the country. It is need of the time to work for establishment of new palliative care facilities at least in all cities of the country and to create sufficient awareness among public.
The theme of World Cancer Day this year is “We can. I can.” The campaign will help raise awareness to show public that everyone can do a lot in fight against cancer. The campaign stresses on individuals to stop smoking, learn about preventive measures and the ways and means to fight cancer. The four basic components of cancer control are prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment and palliative care. At least one-third to 40 per cent of all cancer cases are preventable, mainly by not using tobacco, using healthy diet, rich in fresh, green vegetables, and being physically active with 30 minutes daily walk, avoiding alcohol, narcotics, and most importantly obesity and preventing infections that may cause cancer. Prevention offers the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer.
About one-third of the cancer burden could be decreased if cases were detected and treated early. Some of the most common cancers including breast, colorectal, oral cancer and cervical cancer have high cure rates when detected early and treated. There is dire need for a clear national strategy to be formulated on urgent basis in Pakistan to control the spread of cancer. Media should also play its part to create awareness about cancer among the general public. Pakistan still has a long way to go before it can truly claim a breakthrough in its fight against cancer.