LAHORE: Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC)in collaboration with the The World Health Organization (WHO) arranged a breast cancer awareness session here on Monday November 17 2020.
The event is part of a nation-wide advocacy campaign to promote early detection of breast cancer as 1 out of every 9 women in Pakistan are likely to be affected at some point in their lives. The real-life stories of women survivors were shared highlighting the struggles and yet ultimate triumph of overcoming this common form of cancer at the event.
Discussing the life-threatening disease, secretary WPC Ms Munaza Hassan said, “Pakistan has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Asia and ranks 8th globally in deaths caused by breast cancer. We all should work together to ensure that women are aware of the risks and feel empowered to seek timely treatment.” WHO strongly recommends women to learn self-examination in order to detect early signs of breast cancer and is fully committed to support the Ministry of Health in Pakistan to prevent breast cancer. By promoting breast cancer control within the context of comprehensive national cancer control programmes including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care many lives can be saved.
The First Lady of Pakistan, Dr Samina Alvi, Secretary WPC and Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan Ms Munaza Hassan along with WHO Representative in Pakistan Dr Palitha Mahipala addressed the attendees of the event.
Speaking on the occasion, the WHO Representative in Pakistan, Dr Palitha Mahipala, said, “Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women in Pakistan. It is very important that women learn to conduct self-examination and seek early medical assistance to improve the outcome of this disease”.
First Lady Samina Arif Alvi, who is a strong advocate of raising awareness on breast cancer in Pakistan, emphasised, “Almost half of the country’s population of Pakistan comprises of women, therefore, it is imperative to support them with specialised services.” She stressed the important role of parliamentarians in highlighting of the issue of breast cancer at national and constituency levels to spread awareness.
It is important to note that, in Pakistan, approximately 90,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually, out of which 40,000 patients lose their lives due to late detection. According to a recent study, 77pc of invasive breast cancer occurred in women above 50 years of age, but if diagnosed early the survival rates are 90pc.