Institution-based Assessment of Cancer Patients Treated by External Beam Radiotherapy in the Rural Area of Sindh, Pakistan: Five Years of Data Analysis
Background: Nuclear Medicine Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute Nawabshah (NORIN) is a newly established full-fledged healthcare facility for diagnosis, treatment, and research of all cancer types in rural areas of Sindh, Pakistan. Nuclear Medicine Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute Nawabshah began its radiotherapy services in January 2012. We have conducted this study to assess cancer patients who registered in the Radiotherapy Department and received external beam radiotherapy at this institute in Pakistan.
Methods: We gathered institution-based data on cancer incidence distributed according to gender, age, district, tumor location, and stage of cancer when patients registered in the Radiotherapy Department of the Nuclear Medicine Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute Nawabshah. In total, we included 2116 patients in this study from 2012 to 2016 who received irradiation administered by a cobalt-60 machine.
Results: The most common cancers were located in the head and neck region in males and breast in females. Most patients presented to the Nuclear Medicine Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute Nawabshah with disease stages III and IV. Data from patients treated by external beam radiotherapy has indicated that most were 40-85 years of age. The Nuclear Medicine Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute Nawabshah is located in Nawabshah District. Therefore, most patients who presented to this institution were residents of Nawabshah and neighboring districts.
Conclusion: Late stage diagnosis, lack of awareness, and low socio-economic status in rural areas of Sindh is of tremendous concern. The establishment of a cancer detection campaign and initiation of a cancer control program is vital for an efficient fight against cancer.
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