ISLAMABAD: An campaign for PINKtober was launched on Tuesday to raise awareness about breast cancer.

The campaign has been launched by Pink Ribbon in collaboration with the government, which observes October as PINKtober, a breast cancer awareness month that aims to disseminate information on breast cancer prevention, detection and treatment.

This year, the organisation has developed a breast cancer patient-centric framework to provide solutions to problems facing patients of breast cancer.

Speaking to the press, Pink Ribbon CEO Omer Aftab made some recommendations for the government to resolve issues affecting breast cancer patients.

He said customs duties on diagnostic equipment should be waived, particularly on mammogram and ultrasound machines, diagnostic facilities should be available at the District Headquarters level and the inclusion of breast cancer treatment should be prioritised in the healthcare budget and on health cards.

Breast cancer medications should also be subsidised or taxes and duties should be abolished, he added.

“Allowing the import of all molecules for the treatment of breast cancer and waiving custom duties, banning cancer-causing ingredients that are used in food, the establishment of National Cancer Registry and the establishment of National Cancer Prevention Programme are also the need of the hour,” he said.

He said that the president has endorsed the cause to raise awareness, while Prime Minister Imran Khan “has been working on the issue of cancer for the last 22 years, so this is the best time to develop a roadmap to control the incidence of breast cancer in Pakistan.”

World Heart Day observed

Various events were held on Tuesday to mark World Heart Day, observed on Sept 29.

World Heart Day aims to educate people about cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, and to highlight actions people can take to prevent and control cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease accounts for nearly half of all deaths by non-communicable diseases, killing 17.9 million every year.

The chief of cardiology at Shifa International Hospital, Dr Asad Ali Saleem, said that prevention is better than a cure. Most premature deaths from cardiovascular disease can be avoided if the main risk factors - tobacco use, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and physical activity - are controlled.

“If one has risk factors such as diabetes, a smoking habit, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity with low or minimal physical activity and excessive salt intake, he or she is at high risk and must modify the lifestyle and dietary habits to avoid serious cardiovascular complications,” he said.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Saeedullah Shah said that coronary after disease and valve diseases should not be confused, as they result from different complications.

He said: “It is alarming that younger people are now coming with heart-related diseases. There is a need to avoid using tobacco, exercise regularly and control weight.”

Dr Asad Ali Akbar, another expert, said a more active lifestyle should be adopted to prevent cardiovascular and other diseases.

The Pakistan National Heart Association (Panah) organised a seminar and a walk to mark the day in Rawalpindi.

The walk began in Liaquat Bagh and ended at the Rawalpindi Press Club. It was led by Panah General Secretary Sanaullah Ghuman and attended by politicians including Sheikh Rashid Shafiq, Zamrud Khan, Zeb Nisa Awan, Tehseen Fawad and others.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2020

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