THE way President Arif Alvi and First Lady Samina Alvi have spearheaded the breast awareness campaign over the last four years is really commendable and should be recognized by all.
It is because of their persistent efforts that one may see a significant increase in reporting of breast cancer cases in hospitals.
In almost every event and gathering attended by them, both the President and the First Lady always tried to educate the people about this serious disease which is curable if diagnosed in time.
During a meeting with the senior representatives of Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Monday, President Alvi urged them to become partners in the breast cancer awareness campaign for encouraging women to conduct regular self-examination and seek medical advice for early diagnosis of the deadly disease which could lead to complete cure and enable patients to live a healthy life.
Pakistan has the highest incidence rate of breast cancer among Asian countries: one in every nine women has a lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
By reason of many misconceptions about the etiology of the disease and socio-economic factors, Pakistani women have very low rate of early detection and diagnose breast cancer at advance stages with fewer chances of survival.
There is a dearth of comprehensive school level knowledge about breast cancer for girls to address the prevailing myths and misconceptions in the society related to breast cancer.
Hence in this context, the role of every segment of society including the entrepreneurs becomes very pivotal to play their role against this disease.
Especially during these testing times when the country is faced with a calamity, the focus must be reaching out to vulnerable women in the flood affected areas.
We, in fact, need to initiate multi-pronged strategies including better documentation of cases, community-level awareness, overcoming the barriers in the provision of better health facilities and making diagnosis easy.
The provision of affordable and accessible facilities for early detection and treatment may lead to earlier breast examinations in women.
A national-level cancer-registry database needs to ed to provide accurate prevalence of diagnosed cases, survival rate and other related parameters.