Pakistan Requests IAEA to Conduct Cancer Assessment Mission

29 January 2013

Recognizing that cancer is an increasing public health concern in Pakistan, the Government of Pakistan formally requested an IAEA imPACT Review Mission to the country. On 17 January, HE Mr Khursid Anwar, Ambassador of Pakistan and Mr Yusuf Zafar, Minister (Technical), Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the IAEA, presented an official request for an imPACT Review Mission to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.

The imPACT Review is an IAEA service that provides a country with a comprehensive assessment of its cancer control capacity and needs, and is conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partner organizations.

This mission is of considerable importance as Pakistan has began to decentralize specific health functions in mid-2011 to provincial health departments. The imPACT Review will help identifying country-wide plans, strategies and approaches to effectively address the cancer burden. The aim is to establish a national assessment of institutional capacites and needs related to the full range of cancer control areas, including cancer control planning, information and registration, prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, palliative care, training and civil society activies.

In order to accomplish this task the IAEA will assemble a team of experts who will meet with a broad range of cancer control stakeholders from the relevant federal ministries and provincial health departments, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), oncology centres, regional hospitals, public and private institutions, primary health care facilities and university training institutions. The imPACT mission to Pakistan is expected to be conducted within the next twelve months, subject to availability of resources.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Pakistan has an annual cancer incidence of almost 140,000 with a mortality rate of just over 100,000. The most common cancers for women are breast and cervical with a combined annual incidence of over 31,000; while lung and lip/oral cavity cancers top the list among men at roughly 14,000 cases annually.