A Sinking Feeling of Breast Cancer​​​​ in Pakistan

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Dr Rabia Noor

Around 40,000 deaths every year from Breast Cancer. Pakistan has the maximum prevalence of Breast Cancer in Asia. According to an assessment 1 in 9 women might develop Breast Cancer in their lifetime.
The prognosis of Breast Cancer is mostly determined on the stage of disease, i.e., the smaller the tumour, the earliest the stage, the lesser the necessary procedure/treatment, lesser the cost of treatment and better the result and survival rate. Experts say timely diagnosis of breast cancer could decrease the mortality per year by 90 percent.
First Self-examination, then by a related doctor and screening mammograms help in the initial detection of Breast Cancer. Women over 40 are advised to get yearly screening mammograms. If someone has a family history of Breast Cancer or other risk factors, doctor may advise you to get screening even sooner.
Mostly in rural areas of Pakistan, this issue is not communicated because of our cultural obligations and gender prejudice. Most women are hesitant in going for any sort of breast examination. This is also a cause of its high prevalence in Pakistan.
The main causes of breast cancer are obesity, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, hereditary, ignorance, some myths, and unhygienic circumstances during breast-feeding. As compared to other types of cancer, breast cancer has about 90% chances of complete cure, but prevention is in early diagnosis.
The government, mass media and concerned health authorities should take important measures towards paying attention to this fatal disease. It is crucial to raise awareness and educate people regarding symptoms and treatment, offer trainings for breast self-examination (BSE) because it is best as an initial step and more economic than mammogram. This might decrease the prevalence of disease in countries like Pakistan where there is gender biasedness and taboos linked to societal norms.
According to some experts, in LIC like Pakistan, treatment of breast cancer is often beyond the reach of patients. About 32% of the 200,000 cases of cancer that occur in Pakistan yearly are from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the treatment of which costs from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 5 million and 100,000 women are dying every year due to this dangerous disease which is a big challenge for survival of humanity.
However, despite the disease’s severity, shortage of a national data for breast cancer patients has made it difficult to devise comprehensive health policies. It is paramount to urge for this cause on urgent groundwork.