KARACHI: Over 33,000 cases of malignant cancer were recorded by Karachi Cancer Registry in the city over three years, the majority of which pertained to breast and oral cancer. This is an alarming situation, requiring immediate intervention at different levels.

This was stated by Dr Shahid Pervez, chairperson of the Karachi Cancer Registry, while speaking at an online public awareness seminar on ‘Cancer and Karachi Cancer Registry’ organised by Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) at Karachi University on Wednesday.

“Breast cancer is the leading cancer in Karachi followed by oral cancer, a largely preventable disease,” said Dr Pervez, also professor at the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine of the Aga Khan University Hospital.

Sharing data of the cancer registry, he said it recorded a total of 33,309 cases of malignant cancer affecting 17,490 (52.5 per cent) women and 15,819 (47.5pc) men from Jan 2017 till Dec 2019.

Breast cancer is the leading cancer in the city, says an expert

“This is an alarming situation, demanding urgent attention to increase awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the highly damaging effects of chewing various hazardous concoctions. We need screening programmes for early detection of breast and oral cancer.”

Among children and adolescents, the experts found leukaemia and malignancies in the brain and the central nervous system common.

“Colorectal cancer that occurs in the colon and rectum affects both genders. Liver Cancer is also a very common cancer due to a high burden of hepatitis B & C in our population.”

Prof Pervez, also the co-chair of National Cancer Registry, pointed out that cancer was the second leading cause of death in Pakistan, while the same disease was the leading cause of death in developed countries.

He said that the purpose of the cancer registries was to collect cancer incidence data to provide essential information to healthcare providers, government, and researchers to identify major risk factors in a population, based on their lifestyle.

“Cancer registries are the foremost requirement for cancer control programmes in any country. They also have the purpose to prioritise government policies and fund allocation.”

He informed participants that the Karachi Cancer Registry was part of the National Cancer Registry established under the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination in Islamabad.

The registry in Karachi started the collection of cancer data from 2017 and invited all cancer diagnosing and treating hospitals to send data on a voluntary basis.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2021

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