In Asia, Pakistan has the largest rate of breast cancer. It is the second leading cause of death among women. An estimated 83,000 cases are being annually reported in our country, and over 40,000 deaths are caused by it, which is alarming. 1 in every 9 Pakistani women develops breast cancer at some stage of her life.

This is related to severe social and economic issues in Pakistan. In most rural areas of Pakistan, this topic is not communicated because of our traditional culture and gender prejudice. Most of the women are reluctant to go for any kind of breast examination. The major causes of breast cancer are obesity, lack of knowledge, unawareness and unhygienic circumstances during breast-feeding. As compared to other types of cancer, breast cancer has over 90% chances of complete cure, but prevention is in early diagnosis. The way to diagnose breast cancer is by screening mammograms and breast self-examination.

The government, mass media and concerned health authorities should take steps towards paying attention to this deadly disease. It is important to increase awareness and help educate people regarding symptoms and treatment, and also give trainings of breast self-examination (BSE) because it is cheaper than mammogram. This may help to avoid the prevalence of the disease.

MARIA SHAUKAT,

Islamabad, March 5.