Recently a report was issued by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The report had some worrisome revelations and indicated that Cancer will kill nearly 10 million people in 2018. Even after early diagnosis, prevention and cure the global burden of this non-communicable disease seems to be growing day by day. Over the world the number of new cancer cases is predicted to be 18.1 million with an estimate of 9.6 million deaths – which indeed is alarming if not tragic. As per World Health Organization, cancer would be a leading cause of death in 21st century where one in five men and one in six women are likely to develop cancer. Nearly half of new cases and deaths by cancer will be accounted for in Asia only. The report indicates that it has much to do with changing lifestyles where a lot of people are adopting unhealthy routines and eating habits, along with expanding population. 

With rise of such fatal diseases it is important for health department in Pakistan as well to play its role. All the entities involved such as pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, hospitals and government should contribute towards a larger goal and greater good of the community. Focus should be on prevention as well as easy access to treatment of non-communicable diseases such as cancer. With sky rocketing prices of health facilities and medication, it sometimes becomes nearly impossible for a common man to continue with the treatment. In a country which is plagued by inadequate health facilities, lack of professional medical staff and non-affording patients, the Access Program is a ray of hope. Initiated by a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company, this program is aimed at providing affordable medicines for non-communicable diseases to people who otherwise cannot afford them. These medicines are not only FDA-approved but are of export quality provided at a price of $1 per treatment per month. In Pakistan, this program is being run in collaboration with the Federal government and needs to be promoted among the masses who unfortunately, are still unaware of its existence. 

KIRAN FAROOQ,  

Karachi, September 25.