The prevalence of pediatric eye cancer has surged in Pakistan, ranking it among the highest in the region. Dr. Tanzeela Farah, a Paediatric Oncologist at Al-Shifa Eye Trust Hospital, disclosed this concerning trend. Children constitute 30% of the total cases, presenting a significant and challenging aspect of the issue.
Early detection, accurate diagnosis, and timely treatment are crucial in managing eye cancer effectively, especially in children. Dr. Tanzeela emphasizes that early identification is paramount, as it can prevent vision loss in children, underscoring the urgency for prompt intervention.
Failure to consult an expert for eye cancer treatment can lead to severe consequences, including vision loss or eye removal, according to Dr. Tanzeela. The treatment process is described as lengthy and financially burdensome, posing additional challenges.
Despite these difficulties, Al-Shifa Eye Trust Hospital remains committed to providing free treatment for economically disadvantaged patients. The hospital’s dedication is supported by a team of experts and the use of advanced equipment. In the past year, 400 children with eye cancer have been successfully treated, with a total of 1,600 cases documented in the pediatric age group.
Dr. Tanzeela sheds light on the post-treatment phase, stating that follow-up sessions continue for 5 to 7 years after chemotherapy. Eye cancer can be diagnosed at birth, and Al-Shifa Eye Trust Hospital is equipped to treat children from infancy to 15 years old.
A significant portion of cancer cases originates in remote areas, where financial constraints and a lack of awareness about specialized facilities hinder proper treatment. This highlights the need for increased awareness and improved accessibility to specialized medical services in these regions to effectively address the growing concern of pediatric eye cancer.