International conference on cancer care begins

Kathmandu, January 18

A three-day International Cancer Conference began here today.

On the first day of the conference, speakers presented their papers on ways to prevent cancer and treatment method. They also discussed challenges to cancer care in developing  countries.

Around 250 speakers from 15 different countries will present their papers during the conference. Stating that 65 per cent of cancer deaths occur in low and middle income countries, Professor Jeff Dunn AO, University of Queensland, Australia, said, “Cancer burden has been increasing, but administration of HPV vaccine, early detection and treatment helps in preventing and curing cancer.”

Prof Dr Yogendra P Singh, surgery chief at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital presented his paper on evidence-based cancer control strategy. “Eighty per cent of cancer patients in Nepal visit health centres when the disease is already in an advanced stage. It’s rare to get asymptomatic patients. We don’t have proper health insurance and mass screening programmes,” said Dr Singh.

Cancer specialists from around the world advised people to avoid smoking, chewing betel nut and tobacco, change lifestyle and avoid eating junk food, consume green vegetables, increase physical activities and undergo regular health check-up.

President of the Union for International Cancer  Control Prof Sanchia Aranda said he was impressed by the works done by cancer hospitals in Nepal.

World Health Organisation representative for  Nepal Dr Jos Vandelaer said cancer was the cause of 700,000 to 800,000 deaths in the world annually, and that 75 per  cent of the total deaths due to cancer occurred due to lack of money  for treatment. He said it was necessary for countries of  the developing world to deliberate on the issue as many people were not in a position to afford cancer  treatment.

Oncologist and chief of the conference organising  committee Dr Rajendra Prasad Baral said the conference would focus  on the theme of ways to control cancer deaths in the developing countries.

Nepal Health Research Council collecting patients’ data

Nepal Health Research Council has started collecting cancer patients’ data.

In the first phase, the council will collect data from Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur. In the second phase, cancer patients’ details will be collected from all the remaining districts.

“The data will be collected from government and private hospitals, nursing homes, and local bodies where patients go to seek fund for treatment, as per Dr Anjani Kumar Jha, executive chairman at the council.

The data so collected will help ascertain the number, gender and age group of people suffering from cancer.

“This data will also help find out the types of cancer people are suffering from,” said Dr Jha, adding that data collection in the three districts of Kathmandu Valley would be completed within four to six months.

The council had sent its data collection staffers for training in Mumbai two months ago. “They are already on the field now,” added Dr Jha.

Cancer patients have been getting free treatment service equal to the amount of one lakh rupees. Similarly, the Cabinet meeting held on December 28 decided to provide a monthly allowance of Rs 5,000 to poverty-stricken patients of cancer, kidney failure and spinal injury.

It is also working to increase efficiency of the government-run hospitals across the country. In the fiscal year 2016-17, 8,643 patients received government assistance for cancer treatment, according to the health ministry.