First Lady Samina Arif Alvi here on Saturday inaugurated the National Breast Cancer Awareness Helpline: 0213-873-7373.

Addressing an event in connection with the breast cancer awareness at the Governor House, she expressed her gratitude that such a serious issue was being discussed publicly as the stigma attached to it had reduced to a major extent.

She informed that civil, military institutions and NGOs were also working jointly for the awareness of breast cancer.

Samina Arif Alvi hoped that the awareness about the disease at major level would help reduce the death ratio in the country, as early detection was the best prevention.

She regretted that still in this era, women belonging to the rural areas of the country were reluctant to discuss their symptoms because of stigma attached to the breast cancer.

The first lady remarked that lack of health facilities to treat the disease and costly treatment were the challenges.

She announced that the work of compiling the data of infected patients of breast cancer would also commence soon.

Samina Alvi emphasized upon the self examination and keeping the symptoms in mind and to spread the message.

The first lady, who had started the awareness campaign two years back, thanked the media for supporting the cause as the breast cancer issue was being given the space in broadcast and publications besides running of the public service messages.

She urged upon the media outlets to not limit the awareness about the disease to the month of October.

About expansion of the awareness program, she said seminars should be held in that regard.

She apprised that provincial governments were also being approached for the cause. Samina Alvi said the Lady Health Workers would be trained to spread the message door-to-door.

Reema Imran wife of Sindh Governor speaking on the occasion said that biggest challenge in this connection was the unawareness among the masses which was not an incurable disease.

She also emphasized upon the expansion of awareness.

Reema Imran said that the disease was spreading rapidly in the region and in Pakistan also.

She thanked the first lady for initiating such a campaign and also felicitated her as the message had reached to greater extent.

Zarmina Bakhtiar, Dr. Rufina Soomro and Haseena Moin also spoke on the occasion.

A play was also presented by the graduates of National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) in connection with the breast cancer awareness.