Events, Research

Thyroid gland cancer on the rise in Pakistan: Experts

KARACHI: Endocrine diseases, especially thyroid gland ailments and thyroid cancer, are on the rise in Pakistan due to a variety of reasons. The Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) is the only public sector hospital in the country where patients from all across Pakistan, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Islamabad, and Balochistan, besides Karachi and interior Sindh, are being referred to for these highly specialized surgical procedures.

“Thyroid cancer is on the rise in Pakistan, and patients from all of Pakistan are being sent to JPMC for thyroid gland surgeries because we are the only public sector facility where these specialized surgeries are performed. Every year, we are performing around 600 thyroid gland surgeries”, Executive Director, JPMC, Dr Seemin Jamali, told the press conference at Najmuddin auditorium of the hospital.

Accompanied by eminent surgeon Prof Naseem Baloch, Dean, JPMC, Prof Iqbal Afridi, Prof Shamim Qureshi, Dr Urooj Lal Rehman, and other experts, Dr Seemin Jamali said that in order to keep their surgeons abreast with the latest techniques in thyroid gland surgeries, JPMC will organize the 6th Annual Surgical Week for Endocrine Diseases from February 25-28, 2019 at the hospital. In this program, two international surgeons from the United Kingdom and the United States of America (USA) would be training hundreds of Pakistani surgeons.

“Prof Saba Balas Ubramanian from the UK and Prof Kepal Patel from the United States are two master trainers who have been invited by us at the 6th Annual Surgical Week for endocrine diseases to train our doctors and surgeons so that they can perform these complicated surgeries as per international standards”, Dr Jamali quoted. She further added that this event would not only benefit patients of Karachi but patients from all over Pakistan.

She informed that for the last six years, they were holding the surgical week training program for endocrine diseases where experts from Korea, United States, various European countries, and other parts of the world were training Pakistani surgeons with complicated surgeries. Now, the JPMC was the only public sector facility where hundreds of such complicated surgeries were being performed annually.

Eminent Surgeon and Secretary of the Surgical Week, Prof Naseem Baloch said that thyroid gland diseases, especially thyroid cancer was on the rise in the country and added that apart from nuclear medicine, thyroid gland surgery was the only option for the cancer patients.

“We were receiving such a large number of patients with thyroid gland ailments and thyroid cancer that we were compelled to establish a separate surgical unit for these surgeries. Every day, we are seeing 40-50 patients with thyroid gland related diseases at our OPDs”, Prof Baloch informed.

He informed that keeping in view the growing number of patients that require this highly specialized surgery, they started holding surgical week training program on an annual basis where experts from developed countries were being invited to train local surgeons, not only from JPMC but also from other health institutions of the country.

”Every year, over 400 surgeons from all over Pakistan come to attend this prestigious training program where international experts perform live surgeries, give state of the art lectures and discuss case studies so that we could all learn and perform complicated surgeries locally as per international standards”, he informed.

Prof Iqbal Afridi informed that thyroid gland diseases often lead to psychiatric illnesses and urged people not to ignore minor symptoms including swelling in the neck or thyroid gland, problems in swallowing, fatigue, weight loss, and anxiety.

February 26, 2019

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