Breast cancer: Absence of accurate data hindering guidelines for prevention

Screening programme for ICT under consideration.

Sehrish Wasif February 08, 2013
No registration for breast cancer causes hindrances in prevention. PHOTO: FILE


Pakistan does not have a national cancer registry since 1983 when it was closed down after funds ran out. Other reasons hindering guidelines for prevention of breast cancer are a shortage of trained personnel and governmental neglect.

This was said by Dr Huma Qureshi, executive director at Pakistan Medical Research Council (PMRC), after a seminar, “National Consultation On Breast Cancer” held on Thursday at a local hotel.

Due to this, updated and accurate statistics are not available on the number of cancer cases reported in the country and their frequency, she added.

The event was organised by Pink Ribbon Campaign Pakistan (PRCP)  in collaboration with Ministry for Science and Technology. PMRC has moved a PC-I to the Planning Commission of Pakistan for establishing a national cancer registry, Dr Qureshi said. According to the World Health Organisation annually 120,000 people in Pakistan are diagnosed with cancer, said another official.

Dr Talat Jabeen, technical advisor at the Planning Commission said at present another PC-I for breast cancer screening programme for the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) is also under consideration.

Chief Executive Officer of PRCP, Omer Aftab told The Express Tribune that in Pakistan some parents are reluctant to have their daughters for breast cancer by male doctors considering it a social taboo. This can be addressed by increasing the number of female technicians, oncologists and surgeons.

Speakers urged policy makers and hospitals to conduct empirical research on root causes of the increasing incidence of breast cancer and ways to address them. Dr Humaira Mehmood, consultant at Nuclear Medicine, Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute (NORI), Islamabad said it was shocking to see women aged between 20 to 30 years diagnosed with breast cancer.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between PRCP, Pakistan Science Foundation and Pakistan National Accreditation Council for introducing international standards and practices in diagnostic centres and other medical facilities to fight breast cancer.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2013.


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