KARACHI: A seminar held at the Ziauddin University Hospital (ZUH), highlighted the latest developments in cancer treatment.
The seminar, ‘Current Developments in Management of Cancer’ had oncologists and researchers discussing the latest available treatments as well as those under study while it were revealed that cancer patients in Pakistan were diagnosed at the last stage, resulting in minimal chances of recovery.
Professors from Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) and ZUH told the participants about the latest advances in the field of cancer treatment, stressing that with more than 200 different kinds of cancers, many of which could be cured and controlled despite the significant side effects.
ZUH Dept of Medicine Head and Postgraduate Dean Dr Ijaz Ahmed Vohra said that cancer is an additional curse for the third world countries where the lack of basic amenities and poverty has made life miserable. He said that there is a great potential to prevent cancer in Pakistan, provided, that the strong will to eliminate it is there. He also stressed on discouraging the use of tobacco and beetle nut.
Talking about ‘Cancer Immunology’, ZUH Dept of Pathology Associate Prof Dr Mohiuddin Alamgir said that every cancer starts with a single cell that has been unleashed from the growth restraints placed on all normal cells. He said that in the future, cancer immunotherapy is expected to become a treatment option for cancer alongside the traditional methods such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Used in combination with the traditional methods, immunotherapy may increase the likelihood of long-term remission for cancer patients.
AKUH Consultant Oncologist Dr Nadeem Abbasi gave a presentation on ‘Modern Trends in Cancer Management’ while stating that Pakistan faced a shortage of oncologists. He also said that it was a myth that patients in Pakistan came to the consultants at a later stage as even in UK, oncologists see a great deal of end stage cancer patients.
AKUH Consultant Oncologist Dr Najeeb Naimatullah gave a presentation on “Targeted Therapies.” He said that one of the major medical advances of the 20th century is effective cancer chemotherapy while further stating that cure is possible in some cases while control is achieved in most but at the expense of bitter side effects. He said that studies are underway to examine the use of immunotherapy in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapy to increase the effectiveness of patient response.