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Facing the Inevitable: Dr. Azra Raza Explores the Human Journey at the 8th Yohsin Lecture at Habib University

Habib University recently concluded its 8th Yohsin Lecture, a distinguished event featuring Dr. Azra Raza, a globally recognized leader in the fight against cancer. Titled 'Confronting with Passion the Conundrum of Life,' the lecture took place on December 1, 2023, at Habib University Campus in Karachi.

As a vital part of the Presidential Lecture Series, sponsored by the Office of the President, the Yohsin Lecture serves as a platform for engaging civil society, the university’s faculty, and students with eminent scholars, thinkers, and critics. President Wasif A. Rizvi welcomed the audience, explaining that the Yohsin Lecture Series embodies the concept of "Yohsin," derived from Habib University's motto, inspired by Imam Ali’s words: “The worth of every human is in their Yohsin.” Yohsin encompasses qualities like grace, generosity, and excellence, with the primary goal of fostering intellectual discourse aligned with these virtues.

Dr. Azra Raza, the 8th Yohsin Speaker and Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine at Columbia University, shared her extensive experience as an esteemed oncologist and dedicated researcher. Actively treating 30-40 cancer patients weekly, Dr. Raza has made significant contributions to the field, advocating for a paradigm shift in cancer treatment from eradicating every cancer cell to early prevention, as detailed in her bestselling book, "The First Cell: And the human costs of pursuing cancer to the last."

Facing the Inevitable: Dr. Azra Raza Explores the Human Journey at the 8th Yohsin Lecture at Habib University

During the lecture, Dr. Raza explored profound questions related to unsolvable medical challenges, particularly focusing on the human costs of diseases like cancer. She blended poetry and science, intertwining the works of Ghalib with medical insights, offering a unique perspective on the remarkable resilience of the human spirit when facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Dr. Azra Raza emphasized the distinction between curing and healing, stating that while a cure may involve antibiotics for a specific ailment, healing encompasses the entire body. The talk delved into the current cancer landscape, challenging the status quo of the War on Cancer, advocating for change, and suggesting ways individuals can contribute to shifting the paradigm.

Dr. Raza critiqued the conventional focus of cancer research on late-stage disease and argued against the efficacy of targeting specific mutated genes or signaling pathways. She passionately advocated for a shift towards early detection to enhance treatment effectiveness, highlighting the limitations of studying tumors as static entities in unrealistic environments. Dr. Raza opposed the traditional "slash-poison-burn" approach, proposing a more cost-effective, less toxic, and efficient strategy for the future.

The public lecture proved to be enlightening and thought-provoking, offering attendees valuable insights into the complexities of confronting life's conundrums.

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