There are around 15 lakh cancer patients in Bangladesh with 1.5 lakh of them dying each year, said an expert here on Tuesday.
Prof Dr Sabera Khatun, former chair of Gynae Oncology department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, revealed the information, citing data of the World Health Organization (WHO), at a discussion.
The Radiotherapy department of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) organised the programme at the Jatiya Press Club marking the World Cancer Day.
Voicing concern over the increase in the number of cancer patients in Bangladesh, experts urged the government to ensure that there is a database of such patients in the country.
“We’ve to face a problem while visiting abroad. Many experts and doctors ask us how many cancer patients are there in Bangladesh and how many of them die. But we fail to give any appropriate answer for not having accurate data in this regard,” said Prof Dr Sabera.
She urged the government, especially the Health and Family Welfare Ministry and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), to enroll cancer patients immediately.
The cancer expert said around 99 percent uterus cancer can be cured through taking vaccine during the girlhood but it is not done here. “If developed countries like Australia and the UK can resolve the problem through using the vaccine why can’t we do?” Sabera questioned.
Prof MA Khan, former head of Haematology department of the DMCH, said Bangladesh can provide all kinds of treatment for cancer patients. “So, patients should stop going abroad for cancer treatment spending huge money.”
This is alarming that the number of cancer patients is increasing in the country, he said, adding that government and media must play an important role to raise awareness among people to prevent cancer at the early stage.
Dr Swapan Bandyopadhyay, head of the DMCH Radiotherapy department, said the number of cancer patients is increasing in the country for various reasons, including food adulteration, environment and air pollution, smoking and genetic problems.
Associate Prof Dr Rakib Uddin Ahmed of the DMCH urged children to exercise every day and avoid fatty foods as this might cause cancer in future.
A total of eight cancer specialists were awarded at the event.
Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Cancer Epidemiology at the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital Dr Habibullah Talukder Raskin, DMCH Professor Dr Khodeja Begum (Jhumi), Associate Prof Dr Alia Shahnaj, Assistant Prof Dr Dr Tanni Adikari, Vice-president (Marketing) of Oncology and Biotech of Beacon Pharmaceuticals Ltd SM Mahmudul Haque Pallab were, among others, present there.