Can­cer and it chal­lenges

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

C ancer is the big­gest cause of mor­tal­ity world­wide as a sin­gle en­tity. Each year over 12.7 mil­lion peo­ple un­dergo can­cer di­ag­no­sis and 8.2 mil­lion peo­ple die from the dis­ease. Lung can­cer is the most com­mon can­cer and col­orec­tal is the sec­ond most com­mon. Cer­vi­cal can­cer is the third most com­monly di­ag­nosed can­cer and the fourth lead­ing cause of can­cer death in fe­males’ world­wide, ac­count­ing for 9% of the to­tal new can­cer cases and 8%of the to­tal can­cer deaths among fe­males.

Bhutan joined the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity in cel­e­brat­ing the World Can­cer Day on the 4th of Fe­bru­ary 2015 at the Na­tional Me­mo­rial Chorten with the launch­ing of the Bhutan Can­cer So­ci­ety a non- gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion re­spon­si­ble for cre­at­ing aware­ness and help­ing the pa­tients living with can­cer. This year the theme was “No be­yond us.”

In Bhutan about 53 cases of cer­vi­cal can­cer were di­ag­nosed in 2013 and 54 cases in last year. Four new cases has been di­ag­nosed within a month this year. Pro­vid­ing bet­ter health care fa­cil­i­ties has been one of the causes of early de­tec­tion of can­cer at its nascent stage. Due to the early de­tec­tion of the dis­ease the chances of sur­vival is more .The Min­istry of Health has spent about 39 M from July 2013 to July 2014 to­wards the re­fer­ral cost of treat­ing the pa­tient with can­cer. The most preva­lent can­cers in Bhutan is the stom­ach fol­lowed by cer­vi­cal.

The on­col­ogy unit in the JDWNRH has been pro­vid­ing post med­i­cal ser­vices to the can­cer pa­tients who has un­der­gone chemo­ther­apy and ra­dio­ther­apy treat­ments in hos­pi­tals of In­dia or abroad. The unit has been ad­min­is­trat­ing drugs and vac­cines that help in re­duc­ing in the mul­ti­pli­ca­tion of cells that causes can­cer.

How­ever the only sur­gi­cal on­col­o­gist is plan­ning to re­sign soon and the Min­istry of Heath has been ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties to hire some­body which may be too costly for our gov­ern­ment. Fur­ther to train a doc­tor on on­col­ogy would take at least three years and what will hap­pen to the can­cer pa­tients then.

One of the best op­tions would be to re­fer the can­cer pa­tient to hos­pi­tals in In­dia and abroad by pay­ing a huge sum of money which could have been saved oth­er­wise. How­ever as re­spon­si­ble cit­i­zens it be­comes our re­spon­si­bil­ity of each and one of is to come for­ward for regular checks and screen­ing. Fur­ther it may be good to prac­tice healthy habits by do­ing regular ex­er­cises and main­tain­ing our diet. The early di­ag­nose of the dis­eases will en­able the health cen­ters to help cure the dis­ease and save our life.

For this to hap­pen we must raise aware­ness among the lead­ing de­ci­sion mak­ers to en­sure that can­cer is a health pri­or­ity and al­lo­cate ap­pro­pri­ate funds to com­bat can­cer.

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