KARACHI:  Genetic disposition along with environmental factors, mainly linked to lifestyle, have increasingly exposed local women to breast cancer (BC) risks.

Experts at a seminar "Let us Defeat Breast Cancer Together," held at Aga Khan University Hospital to mark Breast Cancer Week said one out of every 8 to 9 woman in Pakistan is at risk to be inflicted with the ailment.

Death incidence of breast cancer patients is also high in the country due to late diagnosis and delayed referral to appropriate facilities, said Dr. Sana Zeeshan, a consultant breast surgeon.

Mentioning that the disease is largely preventable, she advised women to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle with due attention towards their weight control. "Breast feeding is a natural mode to prevent the ailment often construed to be terminal," specialist told the audience comprising women from all walks of life.

These women largely accompanied by their spouse were also advised to avoid late deliveries as conceiving babies after 32 years enhances their risk to breast cancer.

"There is no vaccine to prevent the ailment, however, culture to promote self examination among attaining age of puberty and mandatory mammography on annual basis at age of 40 plus can help avert associated risks," said Dr. Sana Zeeshan Prof. Shaista Khan, a seasoned oncologist warning that every woman is at risk to be inflicted with the ailment as compared to men said those with family history must be extremely cautious. Urging women not to resort to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at the onset of menopause and later, she said hormonal changes in the body is a pre-cursor right from the age of puberty to later stage.

"There is therefore a necessary requirement for every woman to be vigilant against the disease through regular self examination and formal screening throughout her life," she said.

Ageing was said to be a risk in itself with one out of every 1000 woman celebrating her 40th birthday; five out every 1000 woman attaining 50 years of age; 10 out of every 1000 reaching the age of 60 year and 16 of every 1000 women age 70 can be inflicted with breast cancer.