Get it off your chest: Patel hospital holding free checks for breast cancer today

Women younger than 40 years are also displaying symptoms.


Samia Malik April 21, 2012

KARACHI: Are you a woman older than 40 years of age? Do you have a family history of breast cancer? Have you discovered a lump in your breast? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, it might be a good idea to get checked out, urge Patel Hospital experts.

In order to reach out to women, the hospital organised a camp on Friday to diagnose and treat breast cancer patients. The camp will run today as well and has been organised by the Patel Foundation. People can walk in from 9 am to 1 pm.

It is part of the many health camps the private hospital organises every year, said Dr Mazhar Nizam, its medical director. “This particular camp has been organised for more than five years,” he said.

The hospital aims to screen 130 patients during these two days; a total of 67 patients were screened on the first day, out of which four women were found to be strongly positive, said Dr Nida Wahid, the consultant general and breast surgeon.

However, the biopsy results will confirm the figure. She said that every year the average number of patients diagnosed positive are from four to seven. “I feel it is lower than expected,” she said, adding that this may be because not enough people show up.

Sharing her clinical practice, she said that it is also surfacing that unlike in other countries, in Pakistan cancer is more common in a comparatively younger age group. “While usually women above 40 and 50 years of age are more susceptible, we quite often find patients as young as 30,” she pointed out. “Although we can say that it is the most common cancer in women, we cannot be sure of the total number of women affected in the country because we do not maintain the data.”

Patel Hospital is among the few health centres in the city providing diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

Females presenting with the symptoms or risk factors of breast cancer are provided free diagnostic procedures such as radiology tests, including ultrasounds and mammographies, lab tests such as Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology and tru-cut biopsies. Other advanced tests include a mastectomy biopsy, estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER/PR) and Her 2 neu tests.

The hospital also offers post-camp facilities to the patients diagnosed with breast cancer. For those who may need radiotherapy, there are referrals, usually arranged at Ziauddin or Kiran hospitals at subsidised rates. Although it is located in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Patel Hospital’s catchment area include the localities of Korangi, Malir, Gulistan-e-Jauhar and Nazimabad, and the women attending the camp came from all these localities, said Dr Wahid.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2012.

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