LAHORE - Kalsoom Nawaz, wife of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has been diagnosed with stage-one throat cancer by British consultants, sources in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz confirmed on Tuesday.

However, the former first lady who left for London last week, will stay as PML-N candidate for NA-120 by-election, which is scheduled to take place on Sept 17.

The NA-120 seat had fallen vacant following Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification by the Supreme Court in Panama Papers case on July 28.

Although her cancer is at the elementary stage and curable through medicines, sources told The Nation that Kalsoom’s treatment and recovery will take two to three weeks, decreasing the chances of her active participation in the election campaign.

At the same time, they added, that some other reports are still awaited following which final word would be said about the nature of treatment and time to be consumed by it. So far doctors are not much convinced about the need for any surgery, according to the sources.

Party sources have ruled out the possibility of Kalsoom not contesting the elections. “She will solidly stay in the field,” they stated.

A private channel reported the other day that her personal physician is soon leaving for London while Sharif family members, including her husband, are also flying to London within the next two days.

Experts say initial stage throat cancer will not severely affect movement of Kalsoom Nawaz. “Though only the relevant doctors could give exact information, apparently initial stage cancer will not severely affect routine life of Kalsoom,” said Dr Abdul Rauf, a leading physician.

There are several types of throat cancers. Although all throat cancers involve development and growth of abnormal cells, relevant doctor can inform about specific type and give an effective treatment plan.

Throat cancer is relatively uncommon when compared to other cancers.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common throat cancer involving flat cells lining the throat.

“Detection of throat cancer in early stages is difficult. Kalsoom is lucky to get diagnosed at such an early stage when there are bright chances of successful treatment and complete recovery,” Rauf told The Nation.

“Normally treatment of any type of cancer starts with surgery, followed by radiation and anti-cancer drugs. In the case of Kalsoom, doctors have opted for medication instead of following the prescribed procedure. Only they (British consultants) could give the reasons for deviating from the normal procedure. Again this practice is rare but not uncommon. Apparently, she may not be having cancer at a stage requiring surgery.”

Sources say in the absence of Kalsoom, her daughter Maryam is expected to lead her campaign in the NA-120 that has already been kick-started.

Over two dozen candidates are in the run for this seat and the leading ones of them are PTI’s Dr Yasmin Rashid and PPP’s Faisal Mir. In the last general elections, Nawaz Sharif had grabbed the seat, defeating Dr Yasmin by a margin of about 40,000 votes.

Pakistan People’s Party, which was not so deeply into the election at that time, has entered the field of NA-120 with a renewed spirit. The party chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, is also expected to take part in Mir’s campaign to make his entry into Punjab politics.

Reports suggest Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, is due in the city on a two-day visit solely for campaign of Dr Yasmin who is much upbeat about carrying the palm with a margin this time, as she blames rigging for her defeat in the last election.

The ruling PML-N has formed a team headed by the city president of the party and federal trade minister, Pervez Malik, to lead Kalsoom’s election campaign. Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz are also part of it. The party is on the course of lining up its workers at union council and ward level for the campaign.

They have started door-to-door canvassing for Kalsoom in addition to distributing pamphlets highlighting performance of the PML-N government. PML-N workers are in high spirits and the campaign is bound to gain momentum after August 26 when the final list of candidates will be displayed.