KARACHI – Pediatric Oncologist and Chief Executive Officer of Children Cancer Foundation Karachi – Dr Muhammad Shamvil Ashraf has revealed recently, that; An estimated 8,000 new cases of cancer occur annually among children in Pakistan, out of which 2,000 to 2500 cancer cases are reported in the Sindh province every year.
On the eve of 15th February 2015, celebrated as the International Childhood Cancer Day, Dr Shamvil Ashraf said; The aim of celebrating children cancer day is to raise awareness about cancer as this disease doesn’t discriminate by age. He said out of the total cases emerging every year in the country, only 50 percent are brought for treatment, while rest of children with cancer remain untreated.
He said; The most common cancer prevailing in children in our country are; blood cancer, lymphoma, brain, bone, kidney and eye tumors. He informed that around 500 children with various kinds of cancer are successfully treated in hospitals, free of cost. He said 45 percent of cancer cases were reported from Karachi, while 55 percent were brought in for treatment, from different parts of the country, last year. He informed that cancer cases develop in children due to genetic disorders.
President of Child Aid Association (CAA), National Institute of Child Health (NICH) Karachi – Prof. Nizam-ul-Hasan said; Cancer cases have been rising day by day among children, but on the other hand, there is an acute shortage of cancer care centers and medical staff to cater to the cancer cases in Pakistan.
He said 600 children with various kinds of cancer ailments received treatment in the Oncology Unit of NICH last year. A majority of patients come from Sindh, Balochistan and other parts of country in the hospital. Industrial chemicals, betel nut, betel leaf, Shisha smoking and other tobacco products are the major factors behind the rising cases of cancer in the society.
There is an acute shortage of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff in the country, qualified to attended patients with cancer diseases. Currently there are five cancer-care treatment centers in the country and all are established in big cities only, like; Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Islamabad. Two percent of children are suffering from various kinds of cancer in the country. 70 percent of the children with cancer can be cured if the disease is diagnosed at early stages.
Cancer centers should be established in Balochistan and at regional levels, in order to cater to cases at the local level. There is a need for training of doctors, paramedics and nurses to manage the children with cancer.