Alarming numbers: Breast cancer kills 40,000 Pakistani women annually

Pakistan has highest ratio in Asia, says international awareness charity.


Noorwali Shah May 15, 2012

PESHAWAR: Pakistan has the highest ratio of breast cancer patients in Asia as around 40,000 women die every year due to this fatal disease, an international breast cancer awareness charity has said.

“Pink Ribbon, in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, has launched a national breast cancer awareness campaign to control the disease,” Omer Aftab, the New York-based organisation’s chief executive, told reporters at the Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday.

“We have designated 2012 as the ‘Youth Year’ with an aim to reach 500,000 women across the country to make them aware of precautionary measures,” he said.

“Usually patients consult doctors after the disease reaches its last stage,” he said. “Many risk factors may increase chances of developing breast cancer, but it is not yet known exactly how some of these risk factors cause cells to become cancerous,” he said. “The disease may occur at any age but it is curable provided that it is detected and diagnosed in its early stages,” he said.

Aftab said that a lack of medical facilities and awareness, and women’s hesitance to discuss the disease with male members are the main causes for the high number of breast cancer patients in the country.

“We will send doctors and mammography buses to areas where there is high prevalence of breast cancer. We will hold free medical camps there,” he said.

He said that lady health workers will be trained and can play an important role in making the awareness campaign a success.

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