”If we do not act, cancer deaths could rise to 13 million by 2030”

With 100,000 cancer-related deaths in the country, more women die of cancer as compared to men. The facts were revealed by a Radiation Oncologist Consultant at the Shifa International Hospital (SIH), Dr Muhammad Farrukh while conducting a seminar marking the World Cancer Day.

Disclosing the harrowing statistics, Dr Farrukh said that every year, about 9.6 million lose their lives battling cancer worldwide. This is more than the lives lost to HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), tuberculosis and malaria altogether. He added that if we do not act timely and effectively, the figures are likely to rise to a drastic 13 million.

“If we do not act, experts project cancer deaths could rise to 13 million, by 2030” – he said. But more than a third of cancer cases can be prevented with effective preventive measures and timely action, but due to lack of awareness, we neglect the early symptoms.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization) estimate, by the year 2030, cancer will be the leading cause of deaths worldwide, surpassing health illnesses. Speaking in Pakistan’s perspective, he added estimated cancer incidence of 148,041 new cases every year. Consider that Pakistan has uncontrollably growing population and it stands as the seventh most populous country.

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Women are more affected by the disease rather than men. The age-standardized ratio is more in females, 128 women to 95 men per 100,000 people. According to the statistics for the year 2012, there were 101,113 cancer-related deaths. Among them, 48,449 among men and 52,664 among women, on yearly basis.

The doctor further added that there are 344,243 patients living cancer at any given time.


Dr Farrukh also shared cancer signs that should not be taken lightly under any circumstances:

  • changes in bathroom habits
  • a sore that does not heal
  • unusual discharge and bleeding from natural orifices
  • thickness or lumps in the breast or other places
  • indigestion and difficulty in swallowing
  • obvious changes in moles
  • warts and nagging cough and hoarseness.

Dr Yasir also shared some preventive measures.

“Reduce your risk of cancer by staying healthy, stay away from all forms of tobacco (cigarette, sheesha, niswar, hukka), avoid fast food, preserved foods, food colours, broiler chicken and excess white sugars” – he said. 

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