KARACHI: Experts at an event dedicated to child cancer survivors’ bravery on Sunday said that fortunately the incidence of the deadly disease was low in children, and an early diagnosis and timely treatment could prove to be much helpful or children.

Officials at the Indus Hospital said the hospital celebrated the journey of paediatric oncology patients who fought bravely and were now cancer survivors.

This year’s event ‘Childhood cancer survivors’ day’ was celebrated at the PAF Museum.

Dr Shamvil Ashraf, executive director, medical services, the Indus Health Network and founder of the paediatric oncology services at the hospital, informed the audience about cancer treatments.

“Fortunately,” said Dr Ashraf, “the incidence of cancers in children as compared to adults is quite low. Only three to five per cent of cancers occur in children of less than 15 years of age”.

He said each year around 1,000 children got registered at the Indus Hospital to be treated for cancer, which was curable among the young population.

“Early diagnosis and timely treatment can help children in fighting the deadly disease.”

Dr Ahmer Hamid, head of paediatrics, said, childhood cancers were curable but majority of patients could not afford the costly treatment.

“We, at the Indus Hospital are trying to help children overcome this battle and will continue doing so with the help of our donors.”

To recognise the incredible determination of patients and express solidarity with their families; and to appreciate dedicated medical practitioners, healthcare professionals, volunteers and supporters for their support, celebrities, faculty and members of the board of directors, and others attended the event.

Former cricketer Shahid Afridi, and actors Junaid Khan, Zahid Ahmed and Naveed Raza attended the event and hailed the quality of services provided at the hospital for free.

The event was attended by over 150 long-term survivors of childhood cancer, many of whom were accomplished professionals today.

Waleed Khan was a survivor who told the audience about his journey with the hospital. He is now SSU commander and won the title of weightlifting twice.

“Now my statement is truly justified that cancer is a blessing for me. It changed every thing......cancer gave me strength to live a happier and more energetic life. I did all this because I think we as cancer survivors are stronger than others.”

The survivors’ day event featured a touching display of gratitude by the survivors for the healthcare professionals who helped them fight their illness, including doctors and nurses, as well as support teams such as housekeeping, nutrition and food services, drivers, and other hospital staff.

The emotional moment of the evening was an activity that highlighted glimpses of the cancer journey by survivors of all ages, with moving messages.

One such message said: “I used to be scared of nurses. Now they are my friends.”

“Being repeatedly poked and prodded by cannula to find a good vein hurt too much,” said another.

One message was: “Chemo felt like fire flowing through my veins.”

And another said: “I felt as if I was swinging between life and death.”

The event was brought to a close by providing survivor badges and goody bags.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2019

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