Cancer and it challenges
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.