PR No. 14 Raising Breast Cancer Awareness – A Need Of The Time, Saira Afzal Tarar Islamabad

In connection with Breast Cancer month falling in October, Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar, Minister of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination in her statement said that commemoration of this month is a stark reminder for us to revisit the current state of affairs. In an official statement issued, she said that prevalence of breast cancer is the maximum amongst all the cancers in Pakistan i.e. 38.5%. Unfortunately Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer in whole of Asia with every 9th woman at high risk of getting breast cancer at some point in her life. “Raising awareness and education about its causes, prevention and treatment is the need of the hour”, expressed Minister in her statement.

Breast cancer can be detected and cured at a very early stage! So it is important to focus on prevention and early detection since the survival rate of breast cancer increases to more than 90% if diagnosed early. The realization that breast cancer can be cured serves as a hope for reduced mortality rate associated with it in the days to come.

One of the major reasons of high mortality with breast cancer in Pakistan is the low female literacy rate and lack of preventive health awareness among the masses. Women and their families are not aware of the concept of early detection and at the same time they have very less information about the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment methods and health facilities available.

Government is fully committed to facilitate and support its awareness program in the country while after 18th Constitutional Amendment; Federal Government extends its full support to the provinces in reducing the incidences of breast cancer cases.

The Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in countries across the world every October, helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease. There are about 1.38 million new cases and 458 000 deaths from breast cancer each year. Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in the developed and developing countries. In low- and middle-income countries the incidence has been rising up steadily in the last years due to increase in life expectancy, increase urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles. The majority of deaths (269 000) occur in low- and middle-income countries, where most women with breast cancer are diagnosed in late stages due mainly to lack of awareness on early detection and barriers to health services.