President calls upon the Chambers of Commerce to become partners in the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

Islamabad : President Dr Arif Alvi has called upon all the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Pakistan to become partners in the breast cancer awareness campaign to encourage women to conduct regular self-examination and seek medical advice for the early diagnosis of this deadly disease, which could lead to a complete cure and enable patients to live a healthy life.

The President made these remarks during a meeting with senior representatives of various Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the country. First Lady Begum Samina Arif Alvi was also present during the meeting. Representatives from the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI), Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), Rawalpindi Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RWCCI) and Attock Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI) attended the meeting. Moreover, representatives of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) virtually participated in the meeting.

The President said that Pakistan had the highest rate of breast cancer than any other Asian country and around 90,000 cases were diagnosed every year in the country. He added that early detection and proper treatment could save many precious lives, as almost 98% of breast cancer cases could be cured if diagnosed at an early stage.

The President emphasized that all Chambers of Commerce and Industry could play a vital role in creating awareness regarding breast cancer and its prevention by conveying the message of self-examination and diagnosis across the country in the industries under their purview. “Shops, malls and commercial centres could be used for displaying awareness messages, brochures and other relevant materials in this regard”, he added. He also suggested that the homepages of the websites of the Chambers of Commerce and businesses could be used for promoting the cause of breast cancer in an effective manner.

The President said that no social stigma should be attached to the breast cancer awareness campaign and patients should be motivated to share the symptoms immediately with family members.

The President said that spreading the message of self-examination for the early detection of breast cancer should not be considered as taboo. He called upon the media houses to repeatedly telecast and convey messages regarding the importance of self-examination in their morning and talk shows and as public service messages to create awareness among the general public. He said that this campaign should specifically focus on women in underprivileged areas. He also underlined the need to distribute the list of hospitals, basic health units and other such facilities offering free-of-cost screening and diagnostic facilities.

The President highlighted that this year, Mrs Samina Arif Alvi would also lead the campaign for countering malnutrition among women and would coordinate with the relevant organizations and NGOs for the provision of supplements to the unprivileged women so that they could meet their nutrition needs.

The President also stressed the need for setting up telemedical facilities to increase the outreach of qualified doctors and health providers to women across Pakistan, especially in rural areas, to educate them about breast cancer and the importance of early diagnosis of this disease. He underscored that awareness could save huge expenditures, which are likely to be incurred on providing treatment if the diagnosis was made during the 3rd and 4th stages of breast cancer.

The President also welcomed and appreciated various proposals given by the representatives of the Chambers. He especially commended the idea of fully equipped medical vans and ambulances to be sent to the rural areas, small towns and villages for providing information and conducting initial screening and providing medical advice. He also appreciated the call-caution tone being played by the telecom companies from 1st October requesting the women to carry out self-examination and to seek medical advice in case of any unusual growth. He also urged the Chambers to assemble teams headed by medical doctors to visit schools, colleges and universities to create awareness about this disease among the students and request them to spread this message to all their families.

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