Some 900,000 cancer patients living in Iran

January 5, 2019

TEHRAN- Currently, there is an estimated 900,000 cancer cases in Iran and 110,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, announced the head of the Iranian Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Society. 

Gastric, breast, lung and brain cancers are the most common ones in the country, IRNA quoted Hassan Abolqasemi as saying on Tuesday. 

“Annually, around 30 trillion rials (about $700 million) is spent in the health sector for cancer treatment and half of these expenses go to provision of cancer medicines,” he further remarked. 

“Prevention should be a priority in our plans for controlling cancer, as 30% of cancers are preventable by changing lifestyle,” said Abolqasemi.

“Government resources are not enough to target the current issues, unless the NGOs get involved. Moreover, we should improve our scientific base,” Abolqasemi added. 

“The prevalence of cancer in the country is now below world average but it might increase in future, so all people should participate in fighting the disease,” said Abolqasemi. 

According to World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer.

Approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Around one third of deaths from cancer are due to the five leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.

At-home medical care reduce costs

According to Abolqasemi, at-home medical care for cancer patients is a new approach that would not only reduce the patients’ expenses, but it also has a positive effect on their mental health.

“In Ala charity, in Isfahan, we have tried to apply this method by bringing the doctors to the patients’ house instead of taking them to the hospital, especially for patients that are at last stages of their disease,” said Abolqasemi, who runs Ala, a charity dedicated to treating cancer patients based in Tehran and Isfahan.

“The Health Ministry has recently asked the universities to start running the model of at-home medical care, but running such projects need the support of health sector and different NGOs and charities,” he said.

According to him, every single day of hospitalization of a cancer patient costs around 1 billion rials (about $24,000) for both the health sector and the patient.

SJ/MQ/MG

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