Taking Steps to Address the Growing Cancer Burden in South Asia

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By Purvish M. Parikh, MD, DNB, FICP, PhD, ECMO, CPI, MBA

The cancer menace is really causing a major problem in South Asia. The number of patients now willing to come forward for treatment as well as the actual incidence is increasing. Combined with increased life expectancy, this means the existing infrastructure will face new challenges.

To address this problem, the recently concluded 7th SAARC [South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation] Federation of Oncology Conference at Dhaka, Bangladesh, had a special session. We were privileged to have participants from all countries in South Asia as well as experts from the rest of the world.

We were so excited to find that we faced similar problems and that there was the potential to identify unique cost-effective solutions. The group has put together the highlights under the name of “The Dhaka Declaration.” This is currently being circulated among the participants to get their final OK.

Once this document is ready, we hope to share it with all of you.

We are also planning a meeting of the SAARC Federation of Oncology (SFO) office bearers at ASCO and hope to interact with ASCOs International Committee to discuss collaborative efforts.

Dr. Parikh is a medical oncologist and hematologist. He is President Elect, SAARC Federation of Oncology; President, Indian Society of Medical & Pediatric Oncology; Managing Trustee, Indian Cancer Society; Convener, Indian Cooperative Oncology Network; Editor Emeritus, South Asian Journal of Cancer. Dr. Parikh is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology; he has been an ASCO Member since 2000.

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