Cancer epidemic, price of medicine beyond the reach of middle class

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hospitalBefore the 90s number cancer patient was very low in Bangladesh. But various types of cancer patients are coming to hospitals and the number is increasing day by day. Not only Bangladesh, world is suffering for this deadly disease.

Some specific cause of cancer is identified in Bangladesh. Using preservative to store foods, artificial colors, foods with too much fat, smocking, air pollution and food adulteration have increased cancer patients in Bangladesh. But every cause is preventable. Cancer is not always deadly, but treatment is so costly. Treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy has many side effects.

Many patients are dying from cancer every year which was curable. But the cost is not affordable to lower income people, even in many cases middleclass are failing to bear the cost.

Cancer treatment facility has improved in Bangladesh. There are some government run and private specialized hospitals for cancer treatment. But there is very little difference of cost between government run and private hospitals. Patients get free bed and doctor consultation service in government hospitals, but the main cost in cancer treatment goes for the medicine, which is so costly. A patient’s attendant at a cancer hospital says, they have sold their cattle, land for treatment and some relatives have helped them. Another patient’s attendant says, their doctor said, twelve chemotherapies are required, but they can afford only six. Each chemotherapy may cost twenty to thirty thousand taka.

Cancer specialists say, only government can’t take the full responsibility for cancer treatment. Community must play its role. Government may take an initiative to produce low cost anticancer drug.

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Shihab Uddin Ahmed

Shihab Uddin Ahmed is with Dhaka News since 2011. He has long experience of writing on various issues for web medium. He has a master’s degree from Jagannath University. You can read his science articles in English and Bengali on

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