Islamabad; Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer in Asia as approximately 90,000 women are diagnosed with the disease every year out of whom 40,000 pass away, according to a media report on Monday.
Estimates also reveal that one in 10 Pakistani women could develop breast cancer in their lifetime, the Dawn News reported.
The figures were pointed out at a webinar ‘Breast cancer awareness: give hope, save lives’ organised by Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (Comsats) on Sunday.
During the webinar, former ambassador Fauzia Nasreen, who is an adviser at the Comsats, emphasised the importance of measures that need to be taken in order to overcome the lack of knowledge, appropriate facilities, family support and fear related to cancer in society, the report said.
An early diagnosis and timely access to affordable medical care are the cornerstones of beating the disease, she said, adding women must educate themselves about techniques of self-examination.
Dr Samina Naeem, ex-associate professor at Health Services Academy and consultant at World Health Organisation (WHO) Pakistan, emphasised the need for breaking stereotypes and taboos related to the disease.
The speakers also brought to light the problems related to the treatment of breast cancer along with the social and psychological issues that patients have to face.
Dr Farheen Raza from the radiology department of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences said screening and the need for community-based health education, including group discussions, must be organised in order to overcome taboos attached to the disease.
She also suggested establishment of a one-stop breast cancer clinic aimed at addressing financial, cultural, mental and physical needs of women, under one roof. Steps like this will help break the stigma surrounding the disease, Raza said.
Coordinator of the session and Comsats representative Dr Azeema Fareed said awareness is not only needed among women but also among men as they are part of the family and contribute equally towards the journey of recovery, the report said.