The rate of cancer has been rising alarmingly in Bangladesh largely due to adulterated food, chemical, arsenic, environment pollution, lifestyle and genetic factors, oncologists said on Sunday.
Even young women are being affected with malignant breast cancer here unlike countries like the United Kingdom where breast cancer is prevalent among women aged above 47, they added.
The country has weak preparedness to tackle the menace of cancer epidemic with a few oncologists and inadequate treatment centres.
Even it has no cancer registry to determine the number of patients and prevalence of various types of cancer.
The experts suggested that at least five types of cancer-breast, cervical, colon, lung and stomach cancer-be screened regularly.
The Globocan 2018 data shows 2.4 lakh cancer cases in Bangladesh. As many as 1.5 lakh new cases were detected in 2018 while 1.0 lakh patients died.
This was revealed at a press briefing on 'Cancer Awareness Month October 2019' hosted by Oncology department of Anwer Khan Modern Hospital in the city.
Oncology department head Prof Dr Md Ehteshamul Haque made a keynote presentation.
He said Bangladesh is not prepared to take the load of cancer prevalence. Most cancer patients come at advanced stages which ultimately raise treatment costs.
"Definitely, we're in a poor state in terms of preparedness considering the prevalence of cancer as we need at least 170 cancer treatment centres for 170 million people."
"But we have only 17 centres, 150 oncologists, inadequate machines and manpower," added Dr Ehtesham.
The keynoter suggested that the government provide subsidy through insurance at least for 2.0 million public servants.
As many as 1,082 patients were screened at Anwer Khan Modern Hospital in 2018. Of them, 8.0 per cent were cancer positive and 65 per cent female.
About 43 per cent of them had breast cancer, 16 per cent each oral and lung, 11 per cent cervical, 8.0 per cent colorectal and 6.0 per cent stomach cancer.
As many as 12,374 new cases of lung cancer were detected in 2018. Of them, 11,861 died.
This alarming rate of death calls for regular cancer screening for early detection.
Oncologist Prof Dr Farid, who practises in the UK, said the prevalence of breast cancer in young women aged between 25 and 35 is alarming. It is happening due to the adulterated food intake, chemical and arsenic, child marriage and early motherhood and other genetic factors, he added.