ALTHOUGH breast cancer is not gender-specific, it has higher ratio in women than men. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 17 people die every minute from cancer around the world, making it the second leading cause of death.
Cancer grows unnoticed till its symptoms appear. It can only be detected by screening tests, which can help in its identification before it spreads in the body. Unfortunately, Pakistan is experiencing high mortality rate due to low access to diagnosis and early screening. Many women die every day from breast cancer owing to the lack of awareness or due to the nature of introversion or shyness.
According to relevant professionals, about 90,000 women are diagnosed in the country with invasive breast cancer every year, and half of them die due to late diagnosis.
To deal with the high mortality of breast cancer, we need to focus on screening and early diagnosis which is possible only through public awareness. If it is detected and treated well in time, the affectees can survive.
According to doctors, chances of survival are more than 90pc if the breast cancer is detected at an early stage. The earlier doctors detect it, the higher is the chance of its cure.
In rural and backward areas, men can play a crucial role in the eradication of breast cancer by allowing their wives, sisters, mothers and aunts to go for proper physical examination. Every man should help them know about the disease. We should de-stigmatise it, and encourage breast examination.
We can manage the menace if we break social and cultural taboos and encourage timely examination and screening. It is our ethical, social and religious responsibility to inform, motivate and encourage our women and to spread awareness about breast cancer.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2022