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Pakistan has highest incidence of breast cancer in Asia

Updated October 25, 2014


Different studies show breast cancer kills nearly 40,000 women every year. –– Photo by AFP
Different studies show breast cancer kills nearly 40,000 women every year. –– Photo by AFP

RAWALPINDI: The Holy Family Hospital has had a breast cancer clinic in Surgical Outdoor Patient Department (OPD) Unit 1.

Rawalpindi Medical College Principal and Allied Hospital Chief Executive Prof. Dr. Mohammad Umar inaugurated the Clinic on Friday.

Prof. Mohammad Idrees, Dr Jahangir Sarwar and other faculty members, students, nursing and paramedical staff were present on the occasion.

The RMC principal said in Asia Pakistan had the highest incidence of breast cancer. One in 8th women in Pakistan faces breast cancer during her life, he added.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Pakistan as different studies show it kills nearly 40,000 women every year. According to World Health Organisation, breast cancer rates are getting worse and it is not sparing even younger age group,” he said.

“Women in the developing countries, like Pakistan tend to die at greater rates than in more developed countries because the disease is generally detected when it is in its advance stages,” he said.

Prof Bushra Ahmed said that in Pakistani society there were multiple factors associated with late detection of the disease.

HFH gets breast cancer clinic

One of them is social setup, where women are reluctant to undergo their medical checkup and expressing their medical issues. If women are being diagnosed with breast cancer, they don’t even share the news with their family members, he said.

Prof. Mohammad Idrees said Surgical Unit-1 was general surgery department in tertiary care hospital which was affiliated with Rawalpindi Medical College. It has a busy OPD, 24 hours emergency service along with a 60-bed indoor facility.

“We deal with a wide range of general surgery cases including significant number of patients with breast diseases,” he said.

“Keeping in view the increasing number of cases, we have established a breast clinic in the OPD which will provide the awareness regarding early detection of breast cancer, screening for breast cancer and treatment facilities for patients. Through this clinic we will be in a better position to collect reliable data regarding current situation of the disease in our society,” he said.

Prof. Fahmeeda said in our society it was considered immoral for women to go to the hospital for screenings and checkup or discuss the cancer even within their family. Most of the patients comes to hospital when the diseases is at advance stages. Initially patients ignore growing tumor in their breast.

“Many patients first go to a traditional healer and by the time they visit a reputable doctor, the disease becomes untreatable,” she said.

Dr Jahangir Sarwar said October is breast cancer awareness month internationally. We decided to celebrate it first time in Holy Family Hospital. This year our objective is to increase the awareness among general  public regarding the importance of early detection.

“Our mission statement is Early Detection, Save Lives. He said that keeping in view poor outcome associated with late diagnosis of the disease, we want to help women by increasing awareness regarding early detection of breast cancer through our support services. We need to educate women about self-examination and the need to see a doctors if they feel a breast lump,” he said.

He said that breast cancer did not affect only a women but whole of the family bears the consequences in terms of social and financial impacts.

Published in Dawn, October 25th , 2014