Breast cancer: Screening, treatment facilities in 7 planned districts: Minister – Pakistan

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PESHAWAR: KP Health Minister Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra said on Saturday that the provincial government is committed to providing high quality treatment for breast cancer patients and detection facilities in seven districts of the province.

He was addressing an awareness session on the Breast Cancer Early Detection Initiative organized under the auspices of the Public Health Association (PHA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in collaboration with the Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (IRNUM ) here.

The event aligned stakeholders on the needs for continued engagement to increase breast cancer awareness, the importance of early detection and the availability of affordable treatments.

Breast cancer accounts for approx. 40,000 deaths a year in Pakistan and is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in women. Every woman can develop breast cancer. The disease also occurs in 1% of the male population. Breast cancer places a heavy financial burden on families while affecting them emotionally and psychologically. Lack of awareness and early detection, social barriers and inaccessibility to the health care system affect the survival of breast cancer patients.

Risk factors include genetic factors such as BRCA 1, 2 and p53 gene mutations, female gender, increasing age, high estrogen exposure, obesity, lack of exercise, stress , early menarche and late menopause, etc. The speakers pointed out that majority of women assume that breast cancer will not happen to them, while statistics indicate that 1 in 9 women are at risk of getting breast cancer in Pakistan.

Any woman over 40 or with a family history of breast cancer should have the mammogram test since early detection saves lives. Adopting healthy eating habits, exercising regularly, maintaining a normal weight, and avoiding the use of over-the-counter medications, especially hormonal drugs, is recommended by doctors.

Despite the fact that the World Health Organization’s Global Breast Cancer Initiative (GBCI) has set a target of reducing breast cancer deaths by 2% per year worldwide, Pakistan does not have a breast cancer program. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the first province to launch a breast cancer program in Pakistan, which was launched in 2020.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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