The oncologists of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) stressed that detecting cancer early makes it easier to treat or even to cure.

According to Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), 8.2 million die of cancer per year worldwide, while 14 million new cancer cases are registered every year.

Breast cancer is the top malignancy in Pakistan. According to data registry, the top three malignancies in all age groups and both sexes combined were breast cancer , leukemia and lip and oral cavity cancer.

The top three malignancies amongst adult females were: breast cancer , ovary and uterine adnexa, and lip and oral cavity. Whereas in adult males, they were lip and oral cavity, liver and intra-hepatic bile duct, lung and prostate.

Talking to journalists on the eve of World Cancer Day, Dr Hassan Shahryar, Consultant Medical Oncologist & Hematologist, SKMCH&RC said diagnosing cancer is not always easy; not all cancers show early signs and symptoms and other warning signs appear quite late when cancer is already advanced.

He said generally there are similar types of symptoms in men, the most common being smoking followed by drinking alcohol. Many cancers take places because of these two unhealthy activities. Mouth and throat cancer also occur due to these activities.  Talking about breast cancer , he said that is very common amongst females for a number of reasons; Women who don’t feed milk to their young born, or whose maturity starts before age and those who have  history of cancer in their family or those who have had hormone treatment are at a risk of having breast cancer

He said that to avoid cancer, it is very important to lead a healthy life both for men and women. It is most important to avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, use of ‘gutka’ or ‘chaalia’, unhealthy food, lack of exercise, concern about the right weight and so on. He said that it recommended walking 10,000 steps per day as sitting on a chair for long intervals of time can be risky. It is recommended to walk every now and then especially in an office job. Diet should be healthy and balanced; avoid eating a lot of meat as it causes intestine cancer. By leading a healthy life style, one can avoid the risk to cancer to a great extent, he said.

He further said that those who have a family history of cancer should have a regularscreening. Women around the age of forty (40) should undergo Mammogram and ultrasound tests. At the age of fifty (50), both male and female take Colonoscopy tests to know about intestine cancer. Those with a strong history of smoking should have CT scan once a year.

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of ten (10) cancers namely; bowel, breast, uterine, ovarian, pancreatic, esophagus, kidney, liver, advances prostate and gallbladder cancers, he said. Wrapping up the conversation, he said that at the moment, SKMCH&RC is the one such hospital for cancer which has all facilities under one roof and treat 75% of the patients for free.–Contributed