Cancer is such a terrifying word
When anyone mentions that they have cancer diagnosis.......or has a family member who has cancer
Your face becomes filled with fear and sadness
Suddenly the mood becomes dark and gloomy
Now imagine your doctor tells you have cancer
It is ten times worse because a person of authority and also an expert in that field gives you that diagnosis
Its one thing to say you have an infection, or your cholesterol is high.......but to have a label of cancer alters your life within milliseconds
Fear paralysis logic
The brain fills with stress hormones and we are unable to make the next decision in terms of treatment, costs, success rates, second opinion and maybe worse of all......how to manage the family about this negative news
I have patients and family members coming to me asking me which foreign hospital to go to, when can I get them an appointment what are their credentials
what are the costs? It really is a stressful time for all.....
As you can see the patient is now overburdened with so much personal health responsibility
But what is the responsibility of the health system?
The lab technician who found abnormal tests,
the pathologist who found abnormal cells and the patient's doctor?
The health system in south asia, like in many countries is fragmented, its in pieces, its unusually expensive because the various services are not in a unifying package like in the developed national health systems of UK, Japan, Korea and others
In financial terms the patient and the healthcare providers are missing out on the billions of dollars in savings that is possible when you have economies of scale.......meaning more patients who are placed in specific therapies can bring down costs over time, this makes the system more efficient and so patients have better health outcomes
So what is the reason behind this backward approach in Bangladesh? Why cant doctors guide patients to the right steps, the right centers and also explain what this type of cancer actually is?
We can mention topics related to system incompetence, politics, laziness of medical societies, brain drain.......trust me there are many causes
What unique tool can possibly bring all decision makers to one table......to make informed decisions about which hospital needs cancer wards, how to fund training for cancer surgeons, how to give contracts to pharma companies to design local made anti-cancer drugs?
Imagine a massive electronic library that has information on cancer trends,
The google of cancer
what type of cancer is on the rise
which drug has best outcome
which is the most affordable in the market
what is the association between the lifestyle of certain patients and their cancer diagnosis
......a massive collection of reports that can help increase funding to a particular hospital to support them
This is the core concept of a cancer registry
A library to teach public health specialists about the state of the population
A database to prove that a leather factory in one area is the cause of skin cancer
And thanks to cloud technology......a way to share information to allow global cancer specialists to teach Bangladeshi doctors how to properly take care of patients before and after diagnosis
This is no easy task
Remember all the reasons why the Bangladesh health system is broken? How can one person or a small group change anything?
There is a saying,
"The best way to move a mountain......is to carry away a small stone every day........"
Whether you are a doctor, a professional or patient watching this video......dont be scared of the size of the problem....rather try to imagine a solution (such as the cancer registry as I mentioned) and break it down to tiny little tasks and bring your social circle to do these tiny little tasks every single day
Like I said, when you keep your head down to focus on the path ahead, the mountain of problems moves away
Remember the first task is raising awareness.........changing mindsets
This post was made possible with the assistance of
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Thank you for you time and I wish you good health
Dr. Ismail Sayeed
MBBS MMed MSc
Founder & CEO