SHAUKAT KHANUM CANCER HOSPITAL ALLEVIATING THE SUFFERING OF CANCER PATIENTS

KANWAL SALEEM, Lahore
Sep 24 - 30, 2007

The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Center SKMCH&RC), which was brainchild of cricketer turned politician Mr. Imran Khan, is now one of the model institutions engaged in alleviating the suffering of patients with cancer through the application of modern methods of curative and palliative therapy.

Located in Johar Town Lahore, SKMCH&RC is a state-of-the-art cancer centre functioning under the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, which is a charitable organization established under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 of Pakistan. Mr. Imran Khan got inspiration after the death of his mother, Mrs. Shaukat Khanum, from cancer. Apart from treating the cancer patients, the hospital is engaged in the education of health care professionals and the public besides performing research into the causes and treatment of cancer. Mr. Imran Khan made a nation-wide appeal for the collection of funds from a match between Pakistan and India on November 10, 1989 at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore which raised Rs. 2,902,600. This was followed by a series of more than 50 successful fund raisers held throughout the world. Pakistan's win under Imran's captaincy in the 1992 cricket world cup in Melbourne helped fundraising efforts. Imran was able to collect one and a half million pounds in just six weeks after the World Cup when the same amount had taken 2 years to collect earlier. He donated his entire prize money of 85,000 pounds for the project. In 1994 when the project required more financing for the ongoing construction, Imran Khan launched a mass contact campaign in which he toured 27 cities in the country and collected Rs. 120 million.

RESEARCH

A spokesman of the SKMCH&RC told PAGE that SKMCH&RC's research is organized in three different streams: i) epidemiology, which seeks to understand the lifestyle and environmental causes of cancer; ii) molecular biology, which will enable the development of better ways of predicting treatment responses and disease outcome i.e molecular markers; and iii) clinical trials, which is primarily focused on the evaluation of existing and new therapies. The Management Information Systems (MIS) Department has developed a state-of-the-art hospital information system. Through this system, the research team has been able to handle the logistics of a large hospital, documenting a wealth of patient information. SKMCH&RC's objective is to explore the bridge between laboratory and clinic though the support of translational studies in areas of diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. It is important to maintain research concerned with cancer in local population, addressing issues of prevention through studies on the effects of genetic make-up, environment and lifestyle.

CANCER REGISTRY

The Hospital Cancer Registry at SKMCH&RC is a data system designed for collection, management, and analysis of detailed data on patients registered at the Hospital. This Cancer Registry has been functioning since the inauguration of the Hospital in December 1994. Every year, the Registry generates cancer statistics according to sex, age, topography, and morphology, etc. On January 2004, the Registry implemented the International Classification of Disease for Oncology, Third Edition (ICD-O-3) to code the cancer cases.

The computerized Cancer Registry is an integral part of the Hospital Information System (HIS), which has been developed with Oracle Corporation software through the collaborative efforts of the Registry staff and Management Information System (MIS) staff.

NURSING

Professional nursing practice at SKMCH&RC is promoted through membership of the Pakistan Cancer Nursing Forum affiliated to the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care and through membership of the Asia Pacific Hospice Network.

Nursing at SKMCH&RC offers much more than the traditional image of nursing. Nurses provide care to patients receiving complex treatment for their disease through surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and nuclear medicine processes. In addition to informing patients about their disease and its treatment, nurses provide emotional support.

The Nursing Division is ISO-9002 Quality Management Certified and working towards JCIA, therefore is continually striving to improve its practice and thereby its quality of care to patients and their relatives.

NEW CLINICAL BUILDING

According to him, construction of 11-storey new clinical building has been planned and at initial stage, four stories would be completed. The new building would be fully equipped with most modern equipment, which would not only facilitate research work but also enhance indoors patient capacity to double.

FREE TREATMENT

The spokesman said that huge amount of R. 4 billion has been spent on free treatment of deserving cancer patients in almost last 13 years. As such Shaukat Khanum is the only hospital of the world in the private sector, catering free treatment to overwhelming majority of cancer patients.

ZAKAT COLLECTION

Like previous years, the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre launched its zakat collection campaign this year.

According to spokesman, the Hospital's annual budget has reached Rs. 1.6 billion. The hospital generates 50% of the budget from its own resources while the remaining 50% comes from donations and zakat. For the collection of zakat, the spokesman said the hospital has activated its accounts in local and foreign banks facilitating donors. In addition to this, donors can also deposit their zakat directly in the hospital or its collection centers located in different cities and areas of Pakistan. The management of the hospital has requested the well wishers of the hospital to donate generously, enabling it to treat maximum indigent cancer patients.

COURSE:

The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Lahore, also organized a preparatory course for the PACES component of the MRCP exam. Candidates currently travel to the UK for this exam which is the last hurdle they cross before being awarded the MRCP. The exam has 5 clinical stations out of which 2 test the candidate's ability to communicate effectively with a patient.

According to the course director Dr Haroon Hafeez, non-UK graduates traditionally have had trouble in getting through these stations mostly due to cultural and language barriers. Therefore SKMCH&RC organized this course to help provide guidelines on effective communication and give the candidates a feel for the exam by holding mock exams. The tutors in the course were all trained in UK and shared their views and experiences with the candidates. Doctors attending the course found it very helpful not only for their exam preparation but also in their day to day dealing with patients and their relatives.

Dr Haroon mentioned that it is very important to impart effective communication skills to our doctors in training as Doctors who are good communicators have patients who are more satisfied and compliant with their treatment therefore communication skills training is held regularly for residents and nurses working in Shaukat Khanum. Currently not much emphasis is put on this in both post and undergraduate training of doctors in Pakistan and we hope that this trend will change in the future.