10 Cancer Centers Planned

10 Cancer Centers Planned10 Cancer Centers Planned

The Health Ministry plans to establish 10 new specialized cancer diagnosis and treatment hubs in the country, Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi said on Wednesday.

“Cancer and other hard-to-treat diseases are a serious challenge indicating a pressing need for more treatment facilities,” he said during a visit to Ayatollah Khansari Hospital in Arak, Markazi Province.

A budget of $843 million (30,000 billion rials) has been earmarked for the project, IRNA reported.

“Plans for establishing five centers have been finalized and the remaining is under process. Contracts for all the centers will be concluded before the fiscal year is out  (March 20, 2016),” Hashemi said.

Each center will have an area of 6,000 square meters in the first phase, and expand to up to 16,000 sq m in the second phase.

They will be equipped with the latest diagnostic and treatment facilities that will “help alleviate part of the problems in timely diagnosis and treatment of various cancers.”

The exorbitant medical costs for treating cancer continue to burden households grappling with the disease.

Pointing to the 3,000 medical clinics set up by his ministry with a majority in remote and underprivileged areas, he said most of them are facing challenges due to the shortage of funds and/or paucity of human resources.

  Screening in Mazandaran

Meanwhile, six cancer screening centers have started operating in the northern province of Mazandaran, said Qasem Janbabaei, chancellor of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, as reported by ISNA.

“Screening services for breast cancer in women, colon cancer in men, and various types of tumors are offered at these centers,” he said at a one-day seminar on colorectal cancer. The province has the highest rate of cancer incidence in the country.

Nearly 20% of all colon cancer cases are related to people under the age of 45 in Iran, while it is mostly prevalent among older age groups across the world.

“Physical inactivity, low intake of fruit and vegetables, and high intake of protein and carbohydrates are the main reason for this trend,” he stressed.

The centers are in Ramsar, Chalus, Behshahr, Sari, Qaemshahr, and Amol.

Cancer is one of the top health problems in the country and the third cause of death after cardiovascular diseases and road accidents respectively.

Nearly 70,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year which is expected to see an upswing in the next 20 years. Statistics show that 18% of cancer cases relate to children, of which 50% are fatal. Many experts believe that the rising rate of the disease is due to unhealthy lifestyles, urban expansion and an aging population.

The most common cancers among Iranian women are breast, colon and stomach, thyroid and esophageal. Stomach, prostate, bladder, colon and blood cancers are more prevalent among Iranian men. Lung cancer is the top killer cancer in the world while in Iran gastric cancer is the deadliest.