LETTERS: Lung cancer problem

As the world is celebrating lung cancer awareness month, the number of patients suffering from this killer disease is alarmingly increasing in Nepal.

This awareness programme is observed throughout the world in the month of November of every year.

In Nepal, various programmes are being observed to raise awareness about this dreadful non-communicable disease for long. However, it does not seem that the government and its concerned authorities have been able to reach out to all of its citizens.

May be, the awareness programme that they are running do not seem to be adequate looking at the increasing number of patients in Nepal. According to data provided by Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital, more than 30 patients are found to be visiting it each month for treatment of this disease. Last year, 417 people were diagnosed with lung cancer as reported in “Quit smoking, avoid dust, say doctors” (THT, November 28, Page 2).

Cancer is seen in its later stage which has been the major problem for the doctors to treat the patients on time. If this can be diagnosed in an early stage, the chances of its successful treatment and survival of the patient will be very high.

However, the lack of awareness about this disease and carelessness of the people about their health have been one of the major reasons for untimely death of the patients.

Smoking, dust and pollution are some of factors which can cause lung cancer. Combustion of fuels such as cow dung and wood are also other factors for causing lung cancer. Regular exposure to the dust can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Rai Biren Bangdel, Maharajgunj

Snakebites

One of the most common challenges across South Asia during the seasonal monsoon is flooding; and with flooding there are two serious threats that endanger human life, namely- communicable diseases and snakebites. Although the outbreak of diseases capture most of our attention; however, the numerous reported and unreported deaths due to snake bites in the rural areas is grossly neglected and misrepresented. The flood water that enters the local forest areas, plug the nesting holes of the snakes with water forcing them to come out in the open. The snakes in the flood hit area of remote and rural areas then start looking for dry areas; and unfortunately come in close encounter with the local human inhabitants resulting in disasters. The overflow of flood water results in snake outbreak in the water bodies as well as adjoining river banks, around forest fringes, agricultural fields, granaries and even in the inundated villages and rural homes. The deaths due to snake bites result due to the following unfortunate factors: lack of proper transportation to the nearby health centers for quick injection of anti-venom, inadequate supply of anti-venoms in the remote, rural health centers or even in district hospitals, lack of enough skilled medical personnel properly trained in diagnosing and treating victims of snake bites, lack of education and awareness among rural communities.

Saikat Kumar Basu, Canada