Cost of Cancer Treatment in Pakistan? A Critical Illness Plan would save the bill…

Alifiya Aun Ali
December 27, 2019

Cancer is known to be one of the most dangerous silent killers in the world, it is more dangerous than facing a lion in a jungle, as when you see a lion you know that he is in front of you and is going to attack you, the warning bell rings that tells you that you need to prepare yourself, either to confront or to run.

The lion is a known adversary that you have to face there are no two ways about it, but the term “cancer” listening to it gives us creeps because it is there silently praying on your healthy cells without you knowing till it’s way too late.

Cancer has become a very serious and critical yet common disease in Pakistan and the number is not dropping anytime soon, there are some very basic reasons cancer can grow in a human body.

What causes cancer?

Cancer is caused by accumulated damage to genes. Such changes may be due to chance or exposure to a cancer-causing substance.

The substances that cause cancer are called carcinogens. A carcinogen may be a chemical substance, such as certain molecules in tobacco smoke. The cause of cancer may be environmental agents, viral or genetic factors. We should bear in mind, though, that in the majority of cancer cases we cannot attribute the disease to a single cause.

We can roughly divide cancer risk factors into the following groups:
• Biological or internal factors, such as age, gender, inherited genetic defects and skin type
• Environmental exposure, for instance to radon and UV radiation, and fine particulate matter
• Occupational risk factors, including carcinogens such as many chemicals, radioactive materials, and asbestos
• Lifestyle-related factors that cause cancer include

SOURCES: Joensuu, Heikki; Jyrkkiö, Sirkku; Kellokumpu-Lehtinen, Pirkko-Liisa; Kouri, Mauri; Roberts, Peter J. & Teppo, Lyly (toim.) (2013) Syöpätaudit. Helsinki: Kustannus Oy Duodecim.

Risk factors for Cancer

While doctors have an idea of what may increase your risk of cancer, the majority of cancers occur in people who don’t have any known risk factors. Factors are known to increase your risk of cancer include:

Your age

Cancer can take decades to develop. That’s why most people diagnosed with cancer are 65 or older. While it’s more common in older adults, cancer isn’t exclusively an adult disease cancer can be diagnosed at any age.

Your habits

Certain lifestyle choices are known to increase your risk of cancer. Smoking, drinking more than one alcoholic drink a day (for women of all ages and men older than age 65) or two drinks a day (for men age 65 and younger), excessive exposure to the sun or frequent blistering sunburns, being obese, and having unsafe sex can contribute to cancer.
You can change these habits to lower your risk of cancer through some habits are easier to change than others.

Your family history

Only a small portion of cancers are due to an inherited condition. If cancer is common in your family, it’s possible that mutations are being passed from one generation to the next. Keep in mind that having an inherited genetic mutation doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get cancer. In 5 – 10 percent of breast cancer genetic predisposition plays an important role in the emergence of the disease.

Your health conditions

Some chronic health conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, can markedly increase your risk of developing certain cancers. Talk to your doctor about your risk.

Your environment

The environment around you may contain harmful chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer. Even if you don’t smoke, you might inhale secondhand smoke if you go where people are smoking or if you live with someone who smokes. Chemicals in your home or workplace, such as asbestos and benzene, also areas Symptoms
Signs and symptoms caused by cancer will vary depending on what part of the body is affected.

Some general signs and symptoms associated with, but not specific to, cancer include:

• Fatigue
• Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin
• Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain
• Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won’t heal, or changes to existing moles
• Changes in bowel or bladder habits
• Persistent cough or trouble breathing
• Difficulty swallowing
• Hoarseness
• Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
• Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain
• Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats
• Unexplained bleeding or bruising associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Complications/Side-effects:

Cancer and its treatment can cause several complications and side-effects including:
Pain: It can be caused by cancer or by cancer treatment, though not all cancer is painful. Medications and other approaches can effectively treat cancer-related pain.
Fatigue: In people with cancer has many causes, but it can often be managed. Fatigue associated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments is common, but it’s usually temporary.
Difficulty breathing: Cancer or cancer treatment may cause a feeling of being short of breath. Treatments may bring relief.
Nausea: Certain cancers and cancer treatments can cause nausea. Your doctor can sometimes predict if your treatment is likely to cause nausea. Medications and other treatments may help you prevent or decrease nausea.
Diarrhea or constipation: Cancer and cancer treatment can affect your bowels and cause diarrhea or constipation.
Weight loss: Cancer and cancer treatment may cause weight loss. Cancer steals food from normal cells and deprives them of nutrients. This is often not affected by how many calories or what kind of food is eaten; it’s difficult to treat. In most cases, using artificial nutrition through tubes into the stomach or vein does not help change the weight loss.
Chemical changes in your body: Cancer can upset the normal chemical balance in your body and increase your risk of serious complications. Signs and symptoms of chemical imbalances might include excessive thirst, frequent urination, constipation, and confusion.
Brain and nervous system problems: Cancer can press on nearby nerves and cause pain and loss of function of one part of your body. Cancer that involves the brain can cause headaches and stroke-like signs and symptoms, such as weakness on one side of your body.
Unusual immune system reactions to cancer: In some cases, the body’s immune system may react to the presence of cancer by attacking healthy cells. Called paraneoplastic syndrome, these very rare reactions can lead to a variety of signs and symptoms, such as difficulty walking and seizures.
Cancer that spreads: As cancer advances, it may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Where cancer spreads depends on the type of cancer.

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the world. But survival rates are improving for many types of cancer, thanks to improvements in cancer screening and cancer treatment. (Source:https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases)

Socio-Economic Implications:

Cancer patients face many tough choices about their care, yet one of the most gut-wrenching may be whether to undergo high-priced treatment that could save their life but impoverish their family. To pay their medical bills, even those who are well-insured may need to cut spending not just on vacations and luxuries but also on the necessities of life.

Cancer does not implicate one person but an entire household, it’s not only pain, fatigue and health loss at the same time it’s a very big stress on your socio-economic condition as well, but it’s also an unforeseen and unexpected financial strain that arises or a situation that you cannot do away or dodge.

So keeping that one thing in mind one must ensure that they have their finances well planned and managed, plus they need to ensure that they have shared the risk and the financial burden with a reliable source on which they can trust in the time of need.

Jubilee General Insurance’s critical illness plan is of that sort, it helps you deal with the trauma of your health loss by providing you relief against your finance, and it’s a policy with lump-sum compensation if God forbid you are diagnosed with cancer or any of such kind of disease.

The lump-sum money provided through the critical illness plan can be used for any expenses that you might deem fit for the use, for instance, it can be used for household expenses, school fees, paying rent or loan, used for medical expenses and keep as an emergency fund, etc.

Buying a critical illness is a good option as with just some amount spent you can avail coverage up to hundreds of thousands. Therefore.. Get Jubilee General Health insurance plan by visiting www.smartchoice.pk and look for the plan as per your need (silver, gold, etc.) and get insured today.

Emotional Trauma:

Cancer does not only shakes your physical world but it also rips you apart emotionally and mentally, it jolts you to your giving you the feeling of not being able to relate and comprehend what has happened as a person discovering that he/she has cancer is as shocking as the person feels that his world has come to an end and is standing still and it has no ray or beacon of sunshine or hope that tomorrow would be better.

Hence understanding and making a decision in this stage can be very traumatic for an individual its better to be prepared for unknown, as having a cover and nothing happening is a sigh of relief then something happening and you are having no cover at all.

Treatments

Innovative research has fueled the development of new medications and treatment technologies. Doctors usually prescribe treatments based on the type of cancer, its stage at diagnosis, and the person’s overall health. The side effects of chemotherapy include hair loss. However, advances in treatment are improving the outlook for people with cancer.

Approaches to cancer treatment:

Chemotherapy aims to kill cancerous cells with medications that target rapidly dividing cells. The drugs can also help shrink tumors, but the side effects can be severe.

Hormone therapy involves taking medications that change how certain hormones work or interfere with the body’s ability to produce them. When hormones play a significant role, as with prostate and breast cancers, this is a common approach.

Immunotherapy uses medications and other treatments to boost the immune system and encourage them to fight cancerous cells. Two examples of these treatments are checkpoint inhibitors and adoptive cell transfer.

Precision medicine, or personalized medicine, is a newer, developing approach. It involves using genetic testing to determine the best treatments for a person’s particular presentation of cancer. Researchers have yet to show that it can effectively treat all types of cancer, however.

Radiation therapy uses high-dose radiation to kill cancerous cells. Also, a doctor may recommend using radiation to shrink a tumor before surgery or reduce tumor-related symptoms.

Stem cell transplant can be especially beneficial for people with blood-related cancers, such as leukemia or lymphoma. It involves removing cells, such as red or white blood cells, that chemotherapy or radiation has destroyed. Lab technicians then strengthen the cells and put them back into the body.

Surgery is often a part of a treatment plan when a person has a cancerous tumor. Also, a surgeon may remove lymph nodes to reduce or prevent the disease’s spread.

Targeted therapies perform functions within cancerous cells to prevent them from multiplying. They can also boost the immune system. Two examples of these therapies are small-molecule drugs and monoclonal antibodies.   (Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/)

Doctors will often employ more than one type of treatment to maximize effectiveness to ensure that the patient is relieved of cancer by applying any of the above-mentioned combinations that fit in well with the other.

5 Best Cancer Hospitals in Pakistan for Cancer Treatment

Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, Lahore:

This cancer hospital was established by former cricketer and famous politician Imran Khan. He named this hospital after his mother’s name that died because of cancer. The hospital specializes in the treatment of cancer of various kinds and at all stages conceivable. You can book an appointment with the best oncologists in Lahore at SKMHC via a third party, online and on-call.
You can get free-treatment for the deadly disease if you are unable to pay for the cost of the medical expenses. Another conspicuous element of the hospital is that it gives free treatment to destitute individuals. People from all over the world give donations for patients who can’t afford the treatment. Right now Shaukat Khanum is the best cancer hospital in Pakistan.

Bait-ul–Sukoon Cancer Hospital, Karachi:

Bait-ul-Sukoon is one of the best cancer hospitals in Pakistan. This hospital aims to provide the best medical and surgical treatment to cancer patients free of cost. This cancer hospital was established by the Bait-ul-Sukoon foundation with a total of 50 beds.
There is an In-house pharmacy at the hospital that includes a wide range of cancer treatment drugs. Bait-ul-Sukoon hospital provides chemotherapy, ultrasound, radiology, and radiotherapy services to the patients. You can book an appointment with the best oncologists in Karachi via marham.pk.

KIRAN Cancer Hospital, Karachi:

Specialized in cancer treatment KIRAN Hospital is located in Karachi. This hospital provides specialized consultation and treatment facilities to cancer patients. Radiations Oncology, endoscopies and other comprehensive laboratory facilities are available in this hospital for admitted cancer patients.

Nuclear Medicine, Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute (NORI), Islamabad:

Nuclear medicine, oncology, and radiotherapy institute were established by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in 1983 at Islamabad. This hospital is providing treatment facilities to about 40,000 patients from various cities of Pakistan. You can book an appointment with the best oncologists in Islamabad via many facilitated.

The Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Oncology (INMOL), Lahore:

Inmol cancer hospital is effectively helping cancer patients. In this cancer hospital, people from all across Pakistan are treated with donations. This is the major aim of this cancer hospital to provide the best cancer treatment to the patients who can’t afford it. Inmol cancer hospital has been treating cancer patients for the past 28 years. This hospital is providing advanced medical facilities to help cure a deadly disease. If you want to search for more famous hospitals in Pakistan some links help you to find the best hospital.

Needless to say, cancer is like an unwelcome house guest. Amidst all the turmoil, sometimes the one thing that we can control is to be optimistic. All things considered, talking positively about it can be the one thing that keeps optimism alive.

Cancer that returns: Cancer survivors have a risk of cancer recurrence. Some cancers are more likely to recur than others. Ask your doctor about what you can do to reduce your risk of cancer recurrence. Your doctor may devise a follow-up care plan for you after treatment. This plan may include periodic scans and exams in the months and years after your treatment, to look for cancer recurrence.

Treatment of cancer be it breast, blood, bone marrow, cervical or any other type, is a very expensive metal to deal with, as every procedure and test takes up hundreds and thousands of rupees, a surgery means a single surgery might cost half a million and that’s just one of the many, to begin with.

Keeping the harsh reality in perspective its better to be protected the vulnerable, get not only health but a cash cover as well to protect you and your loved ones against such hard-hitting. unexpected cost.

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