Islamabad - In order to mark October as Breast Cancer Month, Minister of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar stressed the need for creating awareness among masses about breast cancer .

In a statement, she said that prevalence of breast cancer is the maximum among all cancers in Pakistan i.e. 38.5 per cent. Unfortunately, she said, Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer in whole of Asia with every 9th woman at high risk of getting breast cancer at some point in her life.

“Raising awareness and education about its causes, prevention and treatment is the need of the hour,” she added.

She said breast cancer can be detected and cured at a very early stage, so it is important to focus on prevention and early detection since the survival rate of breast cancer increases to more than 90 per cent if diagnosed early.

The realisation that breast cancer can be cured serves as a hope for reduced mortality rate associated with it in the days to come. “One of the major reasons of high mortality with breast cancer in Pakistan is the low female literacy rate and lack of preventive health awareness among the masses.

Women and their families are not aware of the concept of early detection and at the same time they have very less information about the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment methods and health facilities available,” she added.

She said that the government is fully committed to facilitate and support its awareness programme in the country. “After 18th Constitutional Amendment, the federal government extends its full support to the provinces in reducing the incidences of breast cancer cases,” she maintained.

The Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in countries across the world every October, helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease.