World Cancer Day was celebrated across the nation yesterday with the theme ‘We can, I can' by organising various programmes.
However, the annual celebration and awareness campaigns do not seem to have been effective in reducing the number of cancer patients.
According to Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital, 3,451 new patients were registered in the hospital in 2017 alone. The hospital had recorded 3,260 cancer patients in the year 2016.
“The number of cancer patients is on the rise due to changing lifestyle. Smoking, drinking, obesity and exposure to radiation are the major causes of increase in cancer cases in Nepal,” said Dr Ujjwal Chalise, oncologist at the hospital.
Similarly, increasing use of insecticides and pesticides has also contributed to the rise in cancer cases. People in the country do not readily visit health centres. Cancer treatment is possible if detected early. Anyone with family history of cancer must be aware and visit the hospital for regular check-up, advised Chalise.
“People should not be negligent about their health. Regular check-up helps early diagnosis of the disease. Modification and avoidance of key risk factors can significantly reduce the burden of cancer,” said Dr Chalise.
As per World Health Organisation, cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70 per cent over the next two decades. Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015. Globally, nearly one in six deaths is due to cancer. Approximately 70 per cent of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries.
As per the Ministry of Health, 6,178 new cancer patients were receiving treatment in hospitals across the country in the fiscal 2016-17.
Nepal Heath Research Council under the Ministry of Health is collecting the details of cancer patients currently as no government agency has an accurate data on the number and status of cancer patients in the country.
>> Originally posted on the Himalayan Times.