Baku: The rapidly soaring child cancer rate in the southern Iraqi province of Basra has prompted the officials in the country to open the country’s first specialist cancer hospital for children in the province’s capital, APA reports quoting Press TV.
Since 1993, Basra province has witnessed a sharp rise in the incidence of childhood cancer.
“Leukemia (a type of blood cancer) among children under 15 has increased by about four times,” said Dr. Janan Hasan of the hospital inaugurated on Thursday in the southern port city of Basra.
Hasan went on to say that “Most [of the affected children] are high-risk cases, which means that they do not have a high survival rate.”
“Basra’s childhood leukemia rates compare unfavorably to those of neighboring Kuwait and nearby Oman, as well as the US and the European Union and other countries,” said a study conducted by the University of Washington in Seattle, which documented the increase in the cancer rate in Basra.
A suspected source of the afflictions is the depleted uranium (DU) used by the invading forces.
It is reported that the United States and Britain used up to 2,000 tons of DU during the Iraq war.
“We observed 698 cases of childhood leukemia between 1993 and 2007, ranging between 15 cases in the first year and 56 cases in the final year, reaching a peak of 97 cases in 2006,” the study added.
Amid the need for drastic action for handling the crisis, the medics “still do not have advanced equipment, labs and many medicines. We hope to acquire them over time,” Hasan said.