KARACHI: Breast cancer poses serious health risks to women across the world and it is estimated that one in eight Pakistani women develop breast cancer at some stage of their life.
These views were expressed by experts at a seminar held here under the aegis of Ziauddin Hospital to create awareness about breast cancer.
Those who spoke at the seminar included Dr Rufina Soomro, Consultant and Breast Surgeon, Liaquat National Hospital; Prof Dr Tariq Siddiqui, Director Oncology, Dr Ziauddin Hospital and Dr Yasmin Rashid, Oncologist, Aga Khan University Hospital.
“Pakistan has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Asia and as such early detection is the best prevention of breast cancer”, Dr Soomro said, highlighting the importance of screening, clinical examination and self-examination.
“The best way to fight against this disease is to perform monthly self-examinations, looking for signs and symptoms early so that treatment can begin promptly. Women below 40 years of age should perform regular self-examinations whereas women above 40 should undergo regular mammography screening”, she added.
Dr Soomro further said that since year 2000, the screening rate has witnessed an insignificant growth rate of approximate 2-3 per cent.
Dr Yasmin Rashid said since the year 1990, the mortality rate of women with breast cancer has decreased by 34pc due to improved facilities and new guidelines. Furthermore, modern science and advanced research had led to improved drugs that are easily available to the people.
She also emphasized on how the medical system should switch to more progressive forms of treatment like a multi-disciplinary approach where the consultant, surgeon, oncologist, radiologist sit together, give their review on the patient and work with consensus.
Prof Tariq Siddiqui said that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Majority of cases in Pakistan are diagnosed very late because of lack of awareness and cultural taboos that drive women to keep the disease secret.
A free screening process was also organized for all the attendees so that people could come out of the fear of the process.
Earlier, a series of activities were held in an attempt to reinforce the importance of proper medical examination and early detection.