The Effects of Sanctions on the Treatment of...
Fundamentally the spread of cancer and its treatment in the country are deemed some of the important problems in the health sector. In a report, Shargh newspaper wrote : According to statistics, each year approximately 100 thousand new individuals are added to cancer patients in the country. Also, in some types of this disease that include the digestive system, in Iran the patients are approximately ten years younger than patients suffering from the same disease in other countries of the world.
Furthermore, the treatment of cancer patients from various social and economic aspects faces several challenges. Sometimes in Iran, golden opportunities for treatment are lost due to late diagnosis. Meanwhile every day we witness the advancement of science and medical knowledge on diagnosis and treatment of various diseases, particularly cancers and malignant and benign tumours in Iran and the world. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, Gama knife and Cyberknife , are the important tools and practices of cancer treatment and the removal of malignant and benign tumours.
Approximately 70 percent of types of cancer, require radiotherapy in parts of their treatment according to the determination of cancer specialists. This method can be certain and complementary to surgery or chemotherapy. In some cases radiotherapy alone is enough to fight cancerous and malignant cells, and in some of other cases complementary methods are required.
In some treatments, Gamma knife or radio surgery is deemed as one of the precision and specialised methods that uses new technology. The utilisation of gamma rays with an astonishing accuracy to damage cancer and tumorous cells that threaten health, without damaging healthy cells that surround them by the Gamma knife (which works like a surgeon’s scalpel) has in fact revolutionised cancer treatment.
In the past, in some medical treatments, people suffered some irreparable damages such as blindness, crippled limbs, speech disorders and involuntary behavioural problems, but today through utilisation of new methods such as Gamma knife, the locations of cancerous tumours or benign tumours can be targeted and identified more accurately, and with gamma rays eliminate cancerous tumours in an unimaginable way and treat the disease.
In the 15 years since its launch, the Gamma knife Centre in Iran associated to the Kamrani Charity Fund, has managed to cure more than 9000 cancer patients by using advanced treatment methods. This is while the satisfactory results of the treatment have been registered in the form of scientific and research journals under the name of Iran in the science and research community around the world.
But sadly in the past year due to the depletion of ray making source this equipment’s – Cobalt 60 Radioactive – continuation of working has been denied, and annually approximately 1000 or even more patients with brain and neck tumours, most of whom have been treated, but require annual or short term check-ups through this equipment are forced to travel to countries that have this technology and forced to pay higher costs.
Although the US imposed sanctions saw some changes with the nuclear deal, but with Donald Trump coming to office, in a way these sanctions showed a new face. The review of sanctions by the new American administration, prohibits the country’s Treasury from issuing necessary permits for the sale of parts and tools of the Gamma knife equipment to Iran. A treatment that in our country cost less than 500 US dollars, now following the shutting down of the equipment due to lack of Cobalt that creates gamma rays, now is at the disposal of patients with several times the cost and wandering around other parts of the world, including our neighbouring country, Turkey.
In reply to why no serious actions have been taken to restart the equipment, technician Fariborz Kamrani said, “Cobalt 60 can be produced in Iran, but more importantly is the robot that must install the ray source in the Gamma knife equipment. This robot is one of the top technologies. Although it is Swedish in nature but currently it is produced by a Canadian company which has American shareholders. Due to the copyright of the American company and recent sanctions and also noncompliance of the US Treasury, to-date we have not received a serious response to eliminate the problem in the future, but we hope to find positive results for our patients soon.”
He continued, “Cancer treatment in the world is developing and advancing and we hope that side by side, with the efforts of experts and neurologists and radiotherapy technology in Iran, to provide the best and worthiest services to our fellow citizen.”