Editorial

Low-cost cancer test facility in Bangladesh

Devise measures to develop quality cancer care services in the country


Published : 24 Oct 2021 09:01 PM | Updated : 25 Oct 2021 01:47 PM

According to media sources, in Bangladesh around 13-15 lakh people are suffering from the debilitating disease called cancer. High cost of treatment, lack of adequate radiation facilities, shortage of skilled manpower, and lack of awareness within the community are the main challenges hindering cancer care in Bangladesh. Also, unavailability of trained medical personnel has been an impediment to development of radiation treatment facilities in the country.  

It is encouraging to note that the government has launched ‘PET-CT with Cyclotron’, a nuclear medicine device that facilitates low-cost and painless diagnosis of cancer in human body. As reported by this daily on Sunday,  National Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (NINMAS) has been  providing the service on a limited scale for about six months at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in the capital. Reportedly, cancer patients will get the service in a wider range from today (Sunday). Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman will officially inaugurate the service.

Concerted efforts by the government 

and private 

sectors are 

needed for 

gradual progress in cancer 

care services 

in Bangladesh, we do not have a national cancer registry and as a consequence we still have not been able to determine the number of patients receiving cancer treatment in the country, or have gone abroad for treatment. According to a WHO study, around 59 per cent of the deaths in Bangladesh are caused by non-communicable diseases (NCD), 10 per cent of which are caused by cancer. Few government hospitals and one or two private ones have radiotherapy/oncology departments while others provide only medical oncology service. 

Though Cancer is 95 percent curable if it is identified at the primary stage, majority of our patients are identified at the advanced stage because of lack of awareness. The government should therefore devise a plan to make people aware of cancer. Concerted efforts by the government and private sectors are needed for gradual progress in cancer care services. There is a need to create a new or updated cancer control plan supported by accurate data, reliable cancer registries and monitoring and evaluation programmes. 

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