Rojhan poet fighting cancer with courage
By: Shakeel Ahmed
MULTAN: Athar Nasik is an Urdu poet living in Rojhan, Rajanpur, where he also teaches at a public college.
Through his pen he has been fighting for years the cancerous growth of exploitation in society; on personal front, he has been fighting gastrointestinal cancer for the last three years. The cancer has also claimed the lives of his three brothers and as many cousins in the last one decade.
In Sri Lanka, he told Dawn, the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer was possible without biopsy and colonoscopy tests. His aversion to these vital tests is based on his experience; his brother died last year just two weeks after these tests.
Nasik, with the help of his friends and fans, is determined to fight the genetic abnormality and wants to go to Sri Lanka for his treatment. On Feb 1, on the direction of Chief Minister
Shahbaz Sharif, a three-member medical board examined and suggested him to hospitalise so that to determine the stage of the disease.
The board consisted of Nishtar Hospital oncology head Dr Ahmed Ejaz Masud, Dr Nazeer Ahmed Malik and Dr Khalid Mahmood.
“Both tests are very dangerous as a majority of patients die after these tests,” he said. Doctors may not agree with him as colonoscopy is the endoscopic examination of the large
bowel and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus.
A biopsy is a medical test commonly performed by a surgeon or an interventional radiologist involving sampling of cells or tissues for examination, according to Wikipedia. Either test is however very painful, says Nasik, adding that intestinal tumor creates problems for the patient.
He said some Sri Lankan doctors visiting Pakistan last year had suggested him to get treated at Ayurvedic Hospital in Colombo where doctors treated the disease without any test.
He has got his passport and is now arranging funds for his treatment. With his meagre salary which is hardly enough for his large family, it is unlikely he will make it to Sri Lanka.
Nasik does not appeal for funds to the public or the government since it hurts his self-respect. But his friend Shakir Husain Shakir, also a famous writer and poet of Multan, launched an appeal to the government and philanthropists to come forward and save the life of the celebrated poet.
Time is running out as Nasik became aware of the disease in 2009. Dr Masud says he cannot say anything about the stage of the disease without tests.
Physician Dr Abdul Khaliq says colon adenocarcinoma is the most common type of gastrointestinal cancer.
“This type of cancer begins in the cells of glandular structures in the inner layer of the colon and spreads first into the wall of the colon and potentially into the lymphatic system and other organs,” he said.
He said colon adenocarcinoma could be treated, with 50 per cent of patients surviving for at least five years while early stage colon cancers had survival rates of 70 to 80 per cent, if treated properly.