According to a report compiled by serving doctors, there is a highly alarming ratio imbalance between the number of cancer patients and the treatment available to them. They have submitted a report specific to the province of Punjab and the report states that there is only one cancer center for the 13,750,000 population in Punjab and one radiotherapy machine for 22,000,000 population. Similarly, only one medical oncologist is available for 22,000,000 population and one radiotherapist for 13,750,000 population. This stark difference between the number of patients affected and the lack of facilities available to them is due to the lack of research. This study should serve as the necessary push to invest in the health sector of this country.

After cardiovascular diseases, cancer is the second highest reason for deaths in Pakistan. The disease affects almost 150,000 to 200,000 people every year. The irony is that because awareness campaigns are largely absent, people go to doctors at a very late stage. And by that time, nothing much can be done to save the person’s life. This also reduces the capacity of health facilities to treat cancer patients. They have to pick and choose between patients where there is a possibility and those with terminal conditions in order to work with the limited resources at their disposal.

The report also pointed out the lack of availability of the drug morphine, which is a pain reliever. Since the drug is not readily available, several patients in pain are left to just deal with it. On this Cancer Day, it should serve as a reminder that it is a deadly disease and it is only growing by the day. The health sector needs to be incentivised in a manner which accommodates all these concerns and makes a healthy future possible for the people of the country.