May 1, 2017 BBS

Samtse has the highest head and neck cancers followed by Paro with the highest esophagus or food pipe cancer in the country. This is according to a finding of the country’s first cancer registry in the National Referral hospital.
Cancer registry is a systematic collection of data about cancer from across the country. It is an essential tool for gathering information about the causes and effects of different types of cancer. The establishment of a cancer registry has helped in research to improve cancer control programmes.
The data is collected from across the country and the detailed record is maintained at the National Referral Hospital. With more and better information through the data collected from the registry, health care providers can effectively treat and even prevent cancer.
“Cancer registry will show us the true burden of cancer in the country and then it will help us in our cancer control activities. So the cancer control activity means prevention of cancer, early diagnosis and treatment and palliative care. By looking at the data generated by the cancer registry, the policy makers and the government can decide where to put the money for cancer control,” said Dr. Ugyen Tshomo of National Referral Hospital.
The findings from the cancer registry confirm the prevalence of the common cancers plaguing Bhutan. The first report on the findings of the registry will be published this year.
“So far from what we find, stomach cancer is still the number one cancer and I think the deaths are highest from that cancer. Number two is still cervical cancer. Then from the cancer registry we find that there are quite a lot of lung cancers and it is also causing lots of deaths. So here comes again cancer control. So we need to educate people on smoking and on using smoke-less stoves and then of course environmental pollution.”
By using the findings of the cancer registry, Bhutan Cancer Society will educate and create awareness in Samtse and Paro this week. The establishment of the cancer registry in the country is expected to improve better planning and care for cancer patients.
Sonam Pem, Thimphu