Early screening for breast cancer to help in saving thousands of Lives, Begum Alvi

Early screening for breast cancer to help in saving thousands of Lives, Begum Alvi

Islamabad : The First Lady of Pakistan Begum Samina Alvi said that early screening for breast cancer would help in saving thousands of lives as diagnosis of this disease at an early stage was quite effective in its treatment and control. She said that most of the breast cancer cases in Pakistan were reported at later stages when the chances of survival were nominal. However, the death rate from this disease could be reduced by creating better awareness in women about the early symptoms of the disease. She was speaking as chief guest at an awareness seminar on breast cancer organized by the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) in collaboration with Pink Ribbon Pakistan to mark the World Cancer Day. Fatma Azim Senior Vice President, Abdul Rehman Khan Vice President ICCI, Mian Akram Farid Chairman Founder Group, Omar Aftab Khan CEO Pink Ribbon Pakistan, wives of naval officers, wives of former Presidents ICCI and a large number of females from various walks of lives attended the event.

Begum Samina Alvi said that Pakistan has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in Asia due to which thousands of women lost their lives every year. She said that lack of awareness and social taboos were the main causes of death from breast cancer and emphasized that creating mass awareness in society was so important to minimize deaths from this disease. She urged that females should focus on self-examining as recovery rate from early diagnosis was 40%. She further emphasized that hospitals should arrange dedicated rooms for breast cancer screening and treatment. She appreciated the role of armed forces, media and civil society for supporting the awareness campaigns about breast cancer.  She also lauded the role of ICCI for organizing an awareness session on breast cancer from the platform of the business community and desired that the business community should also help in arranging ramps for differently abled persons in markets and parks for their facilitation.

Speaking at the occasion, Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the government should set up a National Cancer Registry and focus on formulation of national cancer prevention policy to cope with all types of cancers effectively. He said that women were over half of the total population and educating them about techniques to remain safe from breast cancer was important to exploit their full potential for the economic development of the country. He said that most of the women in Pakistan were homemakers and they should adopt a healthy lifestyle to avoid diabetes, obesity and other issues that were giving rise to breast cancer. He urged that the government should provide cycling and jogging tracks in parks for promoting healthy lifestyle in people. He assured that ICCI would cooperate in arranging ramps in markets and parks for differently abled persons. He also thanked Pink Ribbon Pakistan for organizing a seminar on an important issue of the society.

Omar Aftab Khan, CEO Pink Ribbon Pakistan said that 3 lac cases of breast cancer were reported every year in Pakistan with 115,000 deaths per year. He urged that the government should abolish 30 percent customs duty on the import of screening equipment along with removing taxes on chemo drugs to reduce cost of treatment of this fatal disease. He said that some molecules of breast cancer were not available in Pakistan and the government should allow their import. He further urged that food ingredients that were causing cancer should be banned in Pakistan as was done by many countries.

Dr. Uzma Qasim, Oncologist of Shifa International Hospital Islamabad gave a detailed presentation on the causes of breast cancer and its preventive measures. She said balanced food intake, healthy lifestyle and mindfulness were significant factors in prevention of breast cancer.

Fatma Azim, Senior Vice President ICCI thanked the First Lady of Pakistan for joining the breast cancer seminar as Chief Guest. She said that underprivileged women should be given more focus for awareness and treatment of breast cancer as they were more vulnerable to this disease.