KARACHI - Breast cancer is a very serious health risk for women throughout the world and it is estimated that 1 in 9 Pakistani women develop breast cancer at some stage of their life. Majority of cases in Pakistan are diagnosed not on time because of lack of awareness and cultural taboos that drive women to keep the disease secret.

Around 40,000 women lose their lives every year in Pakistan due to breast cancer. Unluckily Pakistan is the country in the Asia that has the highest rate of breast cancer.

Speakers expressed their view on the awareness seminar titled “Pretty in Pink”, organised by Ziauddin University and Hospital.

The objective of this seminar was to create awareness, promote the prevention of breast cancer, importance of proper medical examination and early detection in our women.

Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, Ziauddin University in his welcome address stated that Ziauddin University and hospital is not only famous for its excellence quality education but also for its extra co-culler activities and today’s successful event is a proof of it.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women all over the world and this seminar is an attempt to increase awareness and decrease the stigma of breast cancer with the help of education on symptoms and treatment. We can only stop this disease by educating people about early detection that it is the best prevention of breast cancer. Ziauddin University & Hospital always takes proactive approach to fight against breast cancer,” he added.

Fauzia Pesnani, HOD, Dr Ziauddin Cancer Hospital (Nursing Services) in her presentation, revealed that in developing and underdeveloped countries main reason of rising number of deaths is that, most of the women with breast cancer are diagnosed in last stages due to lack of awareness on early detection and barriers to health services. And now breast cancer is growing due to increase in life expectancy, urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles.

Dr Lubna Vohra, Consultant Breast Surgeon, Ziauddin University Hospital emphasizes on the screening and early detection of breast cancer. She motivated women by telling them about the factors that influence risk for breast cancer includes being a woman, being older, and having changes in breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2).

Talking about Risk factors of cancer according to the different age groups she revealed that the incidence of breast cancer is very high in Karachi and the highest in Asia. Every year 40,000 women die in Pakistan from breast cancer.

Dr Rahila Usman, Radiologist at Dr Ziauddin Hospital stated that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated on time. And it can only be possible if women start believing on the screening test for breast cancer. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat.

Zohaira Farooqui, Senior Physiotherapist discussed about the importance of rehabilitation in cancer patients and management of lymhedema in breast cancer patients. She said that the early detection results in better treatment and improved. We can reduce risk factor of breast cancer with balanced diet, healthy fruits and vegetables, limiting intake of saturated fat, exercise, weight control.

Earlier, an awareness walk was arranged under the supervision of chief guest of the program Dr Aijaz Fatima, Patron-in-Chief of Dr Ziauddin Hospital. In awareness walk, people from all classes and professions participated followed by awareness talk. Breast cancer survivors also participated passionately by sharing journey of their life that how they found change in their body to the breaking the news (Cancer) and the entire journey of treatment.

Program was attended by large number of doctors, nurses, students, staff, patients and their families and general public. The seminar ended with a note from one of the survivors of breast cancer and she shared her story with the audience and encouraged them to get checked without delay.