Karachi, December 5, 2023 – Dr. Azra Raza, a distinguished global leader in the battle against cancer, illuminated the missing links in the current approach to cancer treatment during a thought-provoking lecture at Habib University.
Delivering the culminating address of Habib University’s 8th Yohsin Lecture, titled ‘Confronting with Passion the Conundrum of Life,’ Dr. Raza seamlessly blended poetry and science, engaging the audience in a discourse on the human costs of health diseases like cancer. Through her captivating presentation, she explored the profound difference between curing and healing, emphasizing the need to address the entire body rather than just individual organs.
The lecture, held on December 1, 2023, at the Habib University Campus in Karachi, attracted a diverse audience of students, faculty, and members of civil society. Dr. Raza’s unique perspective, interweaving the works of Ghalib with medical insights, provided a fresh outlook on the resilience of the human spirit when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Dr. Raza critically examined the current landscape of cancer research, challenging the predominant focus on late-stage diseases. She argued that the billions spent on targeting specific mutated genes or signaling pathways are misguided, given the complexity of tumors with varying genetic and cellular abnormalities. The oncologist passionately advocated for a paradigm shift towards early detection to enhance treatment effectiveness, cautioning against studying tumors as static entities in unrealistic environments.
Opposing the conventional “slash-poison-burn” approach, Dr. Raza called for a more cost-effective, less toxic, and efficient strategy for the future of cancer treatment. Her ideas, drawn from years of experience as the Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine and Clinical Director at Columbia University’s Edward P. Evans Foundation MDS Center, were further outlined in her bestselling book, “The First Cell: And the human costs of pursuing cancer to the last.”
President of Habib University, Wasif A. Rizvi, welcomed the audience and highlighted the significance of the Yohsin Lecture Series. Drawing inspiration from the university’s motto, “The worth of every human is in their Yohsin,” Rizvi underscored the lecture series’ commitment to fostering intellectual discourse aligned with qualities such as grace, generosity, and excellence.
Dr. Azra Raza’s impactful lecture not only questioned the current approaches to cancer treatment but also inspired a call for change and individual contributions to shift the paradigm. The event served as a testament to the Yohsin Lecture Series’ commitment to engaging with distinguished scholars, thinkers, and critics, providing a platform for insightful discussions on crucial topics.