Thursday, May 30

The XIV Congress of Oncologists and Radiologists of the CIS and Eurasia was held in Dushanbe

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The ‘XIV Congress of Oncologists and Radiologists of CIS and Eurasia’ was held at the Abuali Ibni Sino Tajik State Medical University from 25 to 27 April, where world-class specialists from different countries shared their experience, exchanged opinions and discussed topical issues related to this disease.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2022 there will be approximately 20 million cases and 9.7 million deaths due to oncology in the world.

This year’s Congress is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Association of Directors of Oncology and Radiology Centres and Institutes of CIS and Eurasia. This Association plays an important role in the development and implementation of the latest methods of cancer diagnostics and treatment.

The event brought together more than 5000 leading specialists in oncology, radiology, radiation therapy, surgery and other related fields from Russia, Tajikistan, Belarus, Turkmenistan, France and other countries.

The significance of the Congress was also noted by the Heads of State in their welcoming speeches, including the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

Challenges for the future

It is noteworthy that Dushanbe is hosting the Congress of Oncologists and Radiologists for the second time: for the first time the Tajik capital hosted the specialists back in October 2010, during the VI Congress.

At the current event, representatives of Tajikistan noted how much the situation with the treatment of oncological diseases in our country has improved over the past 30 years.

‘Financing of the sphere is systematically increasing, also the provision of medical centres with modern equipment and personnel is improving every year. Currently, the industry is successfully continuing the implementation of 15 national strategies and programmes.

Thus, the government’s adoption in 2023 of the ‘Strategy for the Development of Social Protection of the Population until 2040’ and the ‘Comprehensive State Programme for Personnel Training in the System of Social Protection of the Population until 2030’ contributes to solving existing problems,’ Deputy Prime Minister of Tajikistan Dilrabo Mansuri said in her speech.

Over the years of independence, natural population growth due to an increase in births and a decrease in deaths has averaged 2.1 per cent per year, she said. Also during this period, the rate of deaths per 1,000 people has dropped from 6 in 1991 to 3 in 2023, Mansuri added.

‘In addition, over the 30-year period, the average life expectancy of the population has increased from 70 to 76.3 years. But despite all this, there are still pressing challenges.

Among them: improving the quality of personnel training and the problem with the shortage of specialists. In order to solve them, according to the President’s instruction, insurance, labour and social pensions and their supplements will be increased by 30% this year. The salaries of employees of health care and social protection institutions will be increased by 40 per cent,’ Deputy Prime Minister said.

She also noted the role of Ozoda Rakhmon’s Lona Charity Fund, which has been providing free assistance to vulnerable children with cancer since 2009.

Minister of Health and Social Protection Jamoliddin Abdullozoda spoke about successes in the fight against cancer. According to him, thanks to cooperation with the Association of Directors of Oncology and Radiology Centres and Institutes of CIS and Eurasia countries, a pleiad of highly qualified specialists has been trained over the past 10 years, new technologies have been introduced in the diagnosis of malignant tumours and not only.

‘In the future, our government plans to expand the arsenal of modern medical equipment for use in providing radiation therapy to patients with cancer pathology and to increase the availability of this type of service in all regions of the country,’ Abdullozoda said.

‘The second deadliest disease in the world.’

Cancer is the second deadliest disease in the world, said Victor Olshavsky, head of the WHO country office in Tajikistan. It accounts for about 9.6m deaths, or 1 in 6 deaths. And the burden of the disease continues to grow worldwide.

‘A large number of people who suffer from cancer around the world do not have access to modern quality diagnosis and treatment. So, cervical cancer remains 1 of the most serious public health problems worldwide. It continues to impact the lives of women around the world and disproportionately affects those living in underdeveloped countries.

This cancer is the 4th most common cancer in women. In 2022, there were about 660,000 new cases and about 350,000 deaths,’ Olshavsky says.

To address the problems associated with cancer, each of the countries participating in the Congress is taking all necessary measures.

Thus, according to the Russian Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko, 18 modern centres are functioning in their country to raise the diagnosis of oncological diseases to a new level. And last year they carried out more than 24 thousand consultations and more than 108 thousand laboratory tests.

But, as the Minister added, today it is important not only to jointly conduct more fundamental and applied research, but also to introduce innovative methods of diagnosis and treatment, including the use of programmes based on artificial intelligence.

Its head Veronika Skvortsova spoke about the contribution of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency of Russia in the fight against oncology in her address. So one of the priority tasks of the FMBA is the development of the Federal Register of bone marrow donors and haematopoietic stem cells.

‘Its expansion will help speed up the search for donors to treat patients with oncohematological diseases. Thus the number of potential bone marrow donors included in this register increased 2.7 times in 2023 and totalled almost 310 thousand. Thanks to this, in 3 out of 4 cases a joint donor for a patient can be found in Russia. Already hundreds of Russian patients undergoing treatment in transplantation centres have been able to receive bone marrow and haematopoietic stem cell transplants,’ Skvortsova said.

Causes of cancer and early detection

More than once during their speeches, specialists and guests of the Congress noted that the experience and knowledge they will share during the sessions will be very useful not only for leading specialists, but also for young doctors.

At one of these sessions, ‘Cancer Prevention. Precaution and risk factor harm reduction’ on 26 April was just such an opportunity.

Their presentations were presented by David Hayat, professor of medicine, medical oncologist of Bizet Clinic in Paris, Gauhar Isakova, oncologist-gastroenterologist, deputy chairman of ‘Eurasian Association of Oncologists, Surgeons and Rehabilitologists’ from Kazakhstan, and Evgeny Imyanitov, geneticist, doctor of medical sciences, professor, head of scientific department of tumour growth biology from Russia.

So Professor Imimyanitov in his presentation named excessive nutrition as the main cause of cancer in the 21st century.

‘The thing is, when we talk about evolutionary mechanisms, there has never been such a situation in the history of mankind that food was always available. The majority of the world’s population today has no shortage of them. The structure of the diet has changed,’ states the specialist.

Low physical activity, of course, also plays its negative role, he adds. In general, according to Evgeny Imyanitov, the abuse of any kind of products, even those that are considered useful, is not good.

‘For example, it is commonly believed that dairy products are very useful, but after all, they are designed to feed children who have not yet formed the GI tract. This is easily digestible fat, delivery of biologically active substances, etc. And for adults, dairy products are not needed in constant quantities,’ he explains.

Another addiction – smoking – is considered the main cause of cancer, but, notes Imyanitov, this applies only to lung cancer.

Professor David Hayat also clarified which component of cigarettes is responsible for the development of cancer.

‘80% of doctors around the world think that nicotine causes cancer, this is not true. That is, nicotine leads to addiction and dependence, but it does not cause cancer. A burning cigarette emits more than 6,000 harmful substances, of which 69 are dangerous carcinogens. It is these combustion products that cause smoking-related cancers,’ says the expert.

People suffering from the consequences of smoking do not always want to get rid of the bad habit, says David Hayat. In this case, it is recommended to reduce health risks by using alternatives that exclude burning tobacco: snus (crushed moistened tobacco, which is placed between the upper lip and gum for a long time – from 30 to 60-70 minutes), heated tobacco and nicotine-containing liquids.

It is equally important not only to improve the quality of medicine to combat oncology, but also to detect it in a timely manner. Gauhar Isakova spoke about this in detail during her presentation on cancer vigilance.

‘Cancer vigilance is a conscious and systematic adherence to healthy lifestyle and taking measures to prevent cancer. It includes regular medical examinations and screening programmes, following a healthy diet, avoiding bad habits, maintaining an active lifestyle, controlling body weight and regular physical exercise,’ the specialist said.

One of the goals of cancer prevention is early detection, which is exactly what is used in Kazakhstan. It is part of the Standard Organisation of Cancer Care for the country’s population.

This includes examination of visual localisations and collection of cytology, followed by the collection of complaints, examination history, laboratory tests and only then confirmation or exclusion of the diagnosis.

Moreover, the increase in early diagnosis is included in the ‘Comprehensive plan to combat cancer for 2023-2027’ in Kazakhstan.

It consists of 5 target indicators: increase in early diagnosis (from 29% to 35%), decrease in visually neglected cases of cancer (from 12% to 10%), increase in radiation treatment coverage (from 33% to 53%), decrease in mortality from oncology per 100,000 population (from 66.4 to 64.5), and increase in 5-year survival rate (from 55% to 60%).



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