Cancer Prevention Needs Priority

Cancer  Prevention Needs  PriorityCancer  Prevention Needs  Priority

Head of Clinical Oncology Association warned that research in European countries show cellular waves increase the danger of brain tumors in children.

Dr. Mohammad Reza Agha-Nasiri, addressing organizers of the 9th annual Congress of Clinical Oncology last Thursday, pointed to cancer as a major cause of death in Iran. Apart from motor accidents, cancer is the second major reason and therefore it needs attention on priority, IRNA quoted him as saying.

The 9th Annual Congress of Clinical Oncology will be held in Tehran from October 8 to 10 in the National Library of Iran premises.

Today, in developed countries, 40% of fatalities due to cancer are preventable. Officials should prioritize prevention through early diagnosis and timely treatment, he added.

Agha-Nasiri emphasized the country’s capabilities in prevention and early diagnoses of cancer and asserted: “In the Health Reform Plan, cancer should be given a special place. Fortunately today the latest cancer medicines are available and imports of required drugs have been increased. Patients also do not face any problem as insurance covers all the expenses.”

In the 2009 statistics, 80,000 new cases of cancer and 35,000 deaths were registered in Iran, with the total number of cancer patients including new cases and those under care, now touching 500,000, he said.

Globally, 20 million people would be afflicted with cancer by 2020.

He noted that cancers of the skin, stomach, bladder, prostate, and large intestine are common among men and breast, skin, stomach, and thyroid among women.

The number of digestive system cancers is also increasing due to unhealthy diet and adulterated food products.

Blood cancer is another big concern in the country especially among children. “Probably, the non-standard gasoline is one of the causes since it contains lead which stimulates bone marrow resulting in blood cancer. The role of a healthy diet should not be ignored, he said.

 Contraceptive Pills

Agha-Nasiri further said “the pharmaceutical mafia does not allow the flow of scientific information preventing the media from creating social awareness about the carcinogenic effects of contraceptive pills.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Ahmad Ameri, association secretary pointed out that cancer growth rate in Iran is higher than other regional countries and it will be the main challenge in the future.

Ameri added that the new methods of chemotherapy and other treatments will be discussed in the congress. “Curing cancer is team work. People in other fields related to cancer must also acquire the required knowledge.”

Cancer is the only disease where one method of treatment is not enough. So its costs are higher considering the expensive new technologies and medicines that come out every day, he explained.

Ameri stated that 90% of cancer patients need other treatment in addition to surgery and clinical oncology specialists offer holistic care in one place. The association indeed tries to provide the most appropriate, economical, and effective methods care for patients.

In 2013, about $2,650 million was totally allocated for medicines, of which $398 million was for cancer drugs. This amount excludes costly medicines imported and sold by the private sector, Ameri noted.

 Advanced Equipment

Dr. Bahram Mofid, congress secretary said state-of-the-art equipment for cancer treatment would be imported. The deputy health minister has promised to provide radiotherapy center with advanced apparatus.

Mofid added X-ray equipment and particle accelerators are among machines used in cancer treatment but the technologies are underdeveloped due to the Western-imposed sanctions on the country’s civilian nuclear program.

Cancer medicines are made by advanced technology and therefore the clinical studies cost a fortune. Some of the drugs have limited effect but patients opt for them because of the lower price. So the effect of the drugs is one of the central areas to be addressed in the congress, he asserted.

The minimum cost of cancer cure is over $8,000.

Mofid noted that covering 10% of treatment cost of cancer patients in the Health Reform Plan is a positive measure and said hospitals are being reconstructed to facilitate cancer patients.