By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: Over 400 people are affected by head cancer in Kuwait every year. “This means more than one case daily, which is a high number, so we at Cancer Aware Nation decided to hold an awareness campaign in the month of January on head cancer (head, neck and thyroid),” Dr Khaled Al-Saleh, Chairman of CAN, told Kuwait Times. “Head cancer can be discovered easily, because it is in the face and everybody can see the face. Also, thyroid cancer is easy to view as it affects women more than men, and women usually see their faces all the time,” he added.
“The main issue of this month’s awareness campaign on head cancer is to encourage people to seek medical advice if they discover any symptom. All cancers have a risk factor. It’s not a cause, but it means that the likelihood of developing cancer increases when we have risk factors. Smoking and alcohol are among the main risk factors, and these two together increase the probability eightfold than only smoking. So we advise people not to smoke, and if they smoke, not to consume alcohol on top of that. This is the second aim – to make people aware of risk factors,” explained Saleh.
“Lump in the nose, sore throat, change in the voice, or pain anywhere in the head are among the most common symptoms. Ninety percent of these symptoms are ordinary, but there are chances that these symptoms are of head cancer, and doctors can discover it. So patients should not ignore these symptoms, as cancer will not go by itself and should be treated,” he noted.
“This campaign should reduce the number of head cancer cases as well as increase the treatment rate. All activities are open to the public. Also, people should know that there is no screening for head cancer similar to breast or prostate cancers. Doctors in primary care are trained in dealing with these symptoms, as we have trained over 1,000 doctors. So patients should go to the polyclinic in their area for checkups,” concluded Dr Saleh.
The campaign will continue till the end of this month. “The campaign includes various activities such as awareness lectures, workshops, exhibitions, sports exercises and others. The activities will take place in different locations including schools, hospitals, co-ops, shopping malls and other locations visited by people. Doctors from the field will be participating in these activities to give medical advice to patients and to answer their questions,” said Dr Eman Al-Shameri, Head of the Nuclear Medicine Unit at Adan Hospital during a press conference held on Tuesday.