In Pakistan various kinds of cancer have claimed over 91,000 lives in 2013 and an increasing trend was witnessed in new cases of fatality from lung cancer among men and breast cancer among women across the country between 1990 and 2013.
Unlike most countries, Pakistan was one of 62 countries in which the age-standardized death rates for all cancers increased rather than decreased between 1990 and 2013, according a report titled, ‘The Global Burden of Cancer 2013’, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMMA) on May 28 this year.
The situation as portrayed in the study which was conducted by an international consortium of researchers led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington calls for a clear national strategy to be formulated on urgent basis in Pakistan to control the spread of cancer.
Cancer among Men
The study revealed that among Pakistani men, the number of new lung cancer cases doubled between 1990 and 2013, up from 7,700 to 15,500. Among the leading cancers, the number of new cases of esophageal cancer in men was one of the lowest at 5,600 in 2013. Among the top 10 causes of cancer death in Pakistan, mouth cancer showed the lowest number of male deaths at 3,400 in 2013. Meanwhile prostate cancer cases have increased more than threefold during this period due in part to population growth and aging.
Cancer among women
During this same period breast cancer cases among women more than tripled, from 16,900 to 54,400. Deaths from breast cancer were the highest for women, more than doubling to 16,200 in 2013, up from 7,100 in 1990.
Within the top 10 causes of cancer incidence for women, leukemia showed the lowest number of new cases at 4,400 in 2013, up from 1,700 in 1990.
“Cancer remains a major threat to people’s health in Pakistan and around the world,” said oncologist Dr Christina Fitzmaurice, a Visiting Fellow at IHME and lead author of the study in a statement.
Meanwhile talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Minhaj us Siraj, deputy director health at Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) said sadly in Pakistan the burden of non-communicable diseases is increasing as compared to communicable diseases.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2015.