By Our Staff Reporter
Islamabad: Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer in Asia, with approximately 90,000 women diagnosed with the disease every year out of whom 40,000 die, according to a report relesdef on Monday.
Estimates also show that one in ten Pakistani women could develop breast cancer in their lifetime, local media reported. The figures were highlighted in the ‘Breast cancer awareness: give hope, save lives’ webinar organized by the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) on Sunday.
During the webinar, former Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen, who is a COMSATS advisor, emphasized the importance of the measures that need to be taken to overcome lack of knowledge, appropriate facilities, family support and cancer-related fear in society.
Early diagnosis and timely access to affordable medical care are the cornerstones of the disease, she said, adding that women must be trained in self-examination techniques.
Dr Samina Naeem, a former associate professor at the Health Services Academy and a consultant at the World Health Organization (WHO) Pakistan, emphasised the need to break stereotypes and disease-related taboos.
The speakers also brought to light the problems associated with the treatment of breast cancer, as well as the social and psychological issues that patients face.
Dr Farheen Raza from the Radiology Department of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences stated that screening and the need for community-based health education, including group discussions, must be organised in order to overcome the disease-related taboos.
It also suggested that a one-stop breast cancer clinic be set up to address women’s financial, cultural, mental and physical needs under one roof. “Steps like this will help break the stigma surrounding the disease,” Raza said.
Session Coordinator and Comsats Representative Dr. Azeema Fareed said that awareness is not only needed among women, but also among men, as they are part of the family and contribute equally to the recovery journey.