KARACHI: Institute of Communication & Media Studies (ICMS), Ziauddin University, on Friday observed Breast Cancer Awareness week at the Ziauddin University & Hospital, and organised a seminar titled “Are we aware of breast cancer?” at the closing day of drive to create awareness among students and the general public.
The seminar highlighted that every year about 40,000 women die from breast cancer and 2,000 men are diagnosed, out of which 25% die in Pakistan. Every one in 10 men are developing breast cancer and one in eight women will develop all-encompassing breast cancer in her lifetime. Early detection and treatment were keys to defeat breast cancer. Prof NA Jaffrey, Prof Sirajuddaula Syed and Dr Quratulain Badar expressed their views on the occasion.
While addressing the seminar, Dr Jaffrey, advisor Academic Affairs, Ziauddin University, mentioned the breast cancer posed a serious health risk for women throughout the world and it is estimated that one in eight Pakistani women will develop breast cancer at some stage in their life. He further said students and media could play an important role with collaboration of doctors in conducting awareness programmes.
Dr Sirajuddaula Syed of Histopathology said the underlying cause in breast cancer for almost 80-85% of cases was genetic. “There is a misconception among people that cancer is incurable which, on the contrary, is very much curable if detected at an early stage,” he said. “However, the majority of cases in Pakistan are diagnosed very late because of lack of awareness and cultural taboos also drive women to keep the disease secret.”
Dr Badar, assistant professor, Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Ziauddin University said breast cancer incidence rates were lower in this region of the world as compared to most of the developed countries with an incidence of 25 cases per 100,000 women per year in South East Asia, as compared to 95 cases per 100,000 women per year in North America.
“The accurate figures are most likely higher in Pakistan, as many cases go undiagnosed, untreated and therefore unreported. The main thing peculiar to Pakistani women is that we see here much younger patients aged 30 to 40, compared to patients aged 60 to 70 in western Caucasian world,” she said.
She called on students to work as volunteers to conduct awareness programmes throughout the year, especially in rural areas and villages with practical demonstration of self-breast examination.
During the weeklong campaign, the students the ICMS met cross-section of people and distributed flyers and other print material to create awareness.