Breast cancer

November 08, 2019


AROUND 40,000 women die as a result of breast cancer in Pakistan every year.

A recent report claimed that in Asia, Pakistan has the largest rate of breast cancer.

It is the second leading cause of death among women. An estimated 83,000 cases are being annually reported in our country which means that one in every nine Pakistani women develops breast cancer at some stage of her life.

According to the Mayo Clinic, after skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women.

Substantial support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has helped created advances in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

Survival rates have increased, and the number of deaths associated with this disease is steadily declining, largely due to factors such as earlier detection, a new personalised approach to treatment and a better understanding of the disease.

Signs to look out for: a lump in the breast or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue, change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast, fluid coming from the nipple, or a red or scaly skin.

Doctors know that breast cancer occurs when some breast cells begin to grow abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass. Cells may spread (metastasize) through your breast to your lymph nodes or to other parts of your body.

Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts (invasive ductal carcinoma). It may also begin in the glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other cells or tissue within the breast.

Researchers have identified hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer. But it’s not clear why some people who have no risk factors develop cancer, yet other people with risk factors never do. It’s likely that breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of your genetic makeup and your environment.

I request the government to hold awareness campaigns and free clinics where women can go for mammograms.

Meena Ali Jan

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2019