ISLAMABAD: Anchorperson and Saach Foundation Chief Executive Officer Syed Tallat Hussain has stressed that fighting cancer in Pakistan is as important as fighting the menace of terrorism.
He said cancer was the second leading cause of death and direly needed attention of the government, media and health experts to create awareness amongst masses. Prevention and awareness can decrease overall healthcare cost of the country, he said. Hussain was addressing the participants of a walk against cancer outside the Shifa International Hospital (SIH) on Tuesday. World Cancer Day is celebrated every year around the world on February 4.
This year’s theme of the World Cancer Day was “debunk the myth” associated with cancer. The walk was organised by Shifa International Hospital in collaboration with Saach Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation working on thalassaemia and cancer. Besides chief guest Tallat Hussain, SIH Chief Executive Officer Dr Manzoor H Qazi, Medical Director Dr Salim Khan, Chief Operating Officer Sohail A Siddiqi, Director Strategic Planning Mahmood Mirza, other SIH officials, a large number of schoolchildren from Tameer-e-Millat Foundation (TMF) school and Muslim Aid School, officials of Saach Foundation, civil society representatives, citizens of twin cities, doctors, medical and nursing students and cancer patients participated in the walk.
The participants were holding placards and banners inscribed with encouraging slogans for cancer patients and awareness quotes. Sohail A Siddiqi gave the opening remarks, while Dr Manzoor H Qazi gave the vote of thanks. They thanked Tallat Hussain, TMF School, Muslim Aid School and media for supporting the cause and helping Shifa in creating community awareness and alleviating myths about cancer. SIH Medical Oncology head Dr Kamran Rashid, Oncologist consultant Dr Asif Mahmood and Dr Reshma Aziz addressed the participants.
While appreciating the role of mainstream media in creating cancer awareness and alleviating myths about the disease, Tallat Hussain highlighted that it was media’s moral and legal obligation to dedicate ten percent airtime for social issues with special focus on creating healthcare awareness among masses. “Today I am here to assure you that media stands by you in fighting cancer,” he remarked while specially addressing cancer patients. He advised masses, specially students and youth, to raise questions about cancer and ask for answers.
Stressing on the need to get tested for cancer, he said quacks were not the right people to treat a deadly disease like cancer. “Cancer is not a social taboo. It’s preventable and it’s treatable,” he stated. Dr Kamran Rasheed said cancer is very serious disease but it can be avoided by adopting healthy lifestyle and taking part in physical activities and exercises.
He stressed the need to quit smoking and avoid use of all kinds of tobacco that are the root-cause of many types of cancers. Dr Kamran told the participants that cancer is 90 percent curable if it is diagnosed in time. “Treatment is more successful today than ever,” he remarked while emphasising that once cancer is diagnosed it should be treated at multi-disciplinary facility because cancer treatment is not the job of a single doctor.
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