One in nine Pakistani women develops breast cancer at some point in their life. Now read that again. If you know nine women in your surroundings, chances are about one of them will develop this notorious disease—including those in your family.
Not only is our country bearing the largest load of breast cancer in Asia, but it has also become the second largest killer of our women population. Every year more than 40,000 deaths are attributed to breast cancer, while 83,000 new cases are reported. These are alarming statistics.
According to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, every year many people lose their lives due to breast cancer without being diagnosed as our country does not have a system of mass diagnosis. The main reasons that the institute identified included: aversion to breastfeeding, obesity, and poor lifestyle. Of those who suffer, a vast majority of women belong to lower socio-economic strata.
These women lack awareness, are shy to share their issues and get diagnosed by a breast surgeon far too late for the right treatment. Some women live so far off from healthcare facilities that they have to travel miles before accessing a doctor. Even if some women get diagnosed at the right time, they prefer to go to a hakeem or a peer for therapy, shunning the more expensive but rightful treatment option like surgery and chemo/radiotherapy.
How to combat breast cancer:
In Pakistan, there is a dire need for mass awareness and dedicated clinics to open up especially in far-flung areas where the case load is high, and access to healthcare facilities is scarce.
Even though stand-alone breast mammography clinics and one-stop breast clinic (for triple assessment) are working from both private and non-profit organizations, there is a need for a more integrated effort on part of these organizations as well as the government. Only then can such clinics be conducive to early detection and early treatment of patients, allowing for a better five-year survival rate.
If diagnosed early, there are very high chances of complete remission of this disease. However, the word early is key to prolonging life. For this reason, self-examinations, and yearly mammograms after a certain age are important. Moreover, healthy lifestyles, eradication of risk factors, exercising and initiating early breastfeeding in children are some other key factors to help prevent disease.
Educating the people:
This factor cannot be stressed enough. Educating our women, and giving them the confidence to come to healthcare providers if they notice changes in their body is important. It must be remembered that more than 77 percent of the cases belong to women over the age of 50, and therefore this senior age group should be taught about breast cancer without hurting their sensibilities.
If you have discovered a lump in your breast, or you would like to know more about your risk of getting breast cancer, then you can consult a top breast surgeon to aid you. Book an appointment with top breast surgeon in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.