According to a research estimate, one in every ten Pakistani women is susceptible to developing breast cancer. With over 90,000 diagnoses each year, of which around 40,000 patients pass away, Pakistan annually reports its highest rate of breast cancer in Asia.
These statistics were shared by speakers at the webinar titled ‘Breast Cancer Awareness: Give Hope, Save Lives’ organized by the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS).
A sitting consultant at the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Samina Naeem, spoke at the event and called for an end to all the taboos that have masked the issue of breast cancer.
Retired Ambassador, Fauzia Nasreen, stressed the importance of taking measures to overcome instances of the lack of knowledge, facilities, family support, and the fear related to cancer in society. She emphasized the importance of having timely access to medical care.
Dr. Farheen Raza from the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) highlighted the need for community-based health education, group discussions, and public awareness programs to tackle breast cancer. She discussed the establishment of a one-stop breast cancer clinic aimed solely at addressing the financial, cultural, mental, and physical needs of women.
She also stated that the Federal Breast Cancer Screening Test at PIMS offers free-of-cost mammographies.
Being a survivor, Dr. Fauzia Cheema highlighted problems related to the treatment of breast cancer, in addition to its social and psychological consequences.
In the concluding remarks, the COMSATS representative, Dr. Azeema Fareed, stressed the importance of the awareness of the disease among both women and men because men are part of the family and equally contribute towards women’s recovery.
There are currently a number of awareness seminars scheduled on virtual platforms in Pakistan.