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Bangladesh Suffers High Cancer Death Rate
Treatment options inadequate to serve all patients
Golam Mustofa Sarowar (Golam)     Print Article 
Published 2006-12-18 16:59 (KST)   
About 150,000 cancer patients out of the present 1 million die annually owing to limited treatment facilities in public hospitals and high expenses in private clinics in Bangladesh.

About 200,000 cancer patients are added to this overwhelming size every year, according to the 2005 draft annual report of the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital.

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While localized cancer can be operated on, patients whose cancer is detected late need chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which are expensive, said medical experts.

The National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital in Dhaka and a number of public hospitals and private clinics that have some facilities for cancer treatment can provide treatment to only 20,000 to 25,000 patients in a year, according to cancer patients and survivors.

The treatment of cancer is also hampered by a shortage of oncologists, as the number in the country is only 98, which is grossly inadequate for the increasing number of cancer patients, according to president of the Bangladesh Cancer Foundation and Associate Professor of NICRH Habibullah Talukder.

According to the report, the top five cancers in males are lung (24.7 percent), unknown primary site (8.1 percent), larynx (7.3 percent), lymphatic and lymph node (7.3 percent) and esophagus (5.1 percent).

The leading five cancers in females are cervical (24.6 percent), breast (24.3 percent), lung (5.5 percent), oral cavity (4.1 percent), and ovarian (3.8 percent), according to the draft report.

With proper treatment, 90 percent of cervical and breast cancer can be cured, said Talukder.

At least 50 cancer survivors enjoyed a river cruise 쏶ail to Survive organized by a pharmaceutical company at Ashulia on Friday. The survivors with their family members, friends, doctors, and celebrities passed the day dancing, singing, and painting in Sarina Cruise Ship.

Shirin Akhter, a cancer patient who has been surviving by taking regular treatment for the past ten years, handed over a book, Katha Dilam (Give Word) authored by her to the organizer, Sanofi-Aventis Bangladesh, for publishing while the cover of another book Holud Patai Sabuj Rang (Green Color in Yellow Leaf), by another cancer survivor, Professor Rowshan Ara Firoj of Dhaka University, was unveiled during the river cruise.

Artist Mustafa Monwar conducted a painting workshop 쐆ealing through painting for 12 of the cancer survivors. Sanofi-Aventis Bangladesh will organize an exhibition of paintings drawn by the participants, said the organizers.

Monwar stated, 쏝eing treated for cancer is a stressful experience, filled with many emotional and physical issues. An initiative like this workshop is a unique endeavor to help survivors manage this stress and deal with some of their feelings.

Through their art, they may find the strength and hope they need to face cancer, he said during the workshop.

Sanofi-Aventis Bangladesh managing director Iftekharul Islam, director of medical affairs Rezaul Farid Khan, head of the Oncology Department Dabir Ahmed, Oncologist Professor ABMF Karim, Professor MA Hai, Professor Anisuzzaman, television actresses Dilara Zaman and Shahiduzzaman Selim, film actor Ilias Kanchan, cancer survivors Kazi Rozy, Sitara Parvin, and Marufi Khan spoke at the inaugural ceremony.

Professor Anisuzzaman said such events would give a living example of how early detection and treatment could help anybody survive cancer.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Golam Mustofa Sarowar

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