President, first lady break social taboo


THE way President Arif Alvi and the First Lady Samina Alvi have shown sensitivity to important matters, especially relating to the health and education of the people, is really commendable. They in fact are going an extra mile and have been seen engaging with different segments of the society in order to bring improvement in the life of the people.
One saw its manifestation yet again the other day when they launched a month-long awareness drive against breast cancer from the presidency calling for concerted efforts to address the alarmingly increasing ratio of the cases particularly by ending the allied social taboos. In our society, discussing this kind of cancer is still considered a taboo as the word breast is associated more with sexuality instead of health and many view it as immoral for women to go to the hospital for screening or discuss it even within their family. However, the way President Arif Alvi and First Lady Samina Alvi openly spoke and drew attention towards this highly dangerous but preventable disease at the event really amounted to taking the bull by the horns. It is only through breaking the taboos associated with the breast cancer that the tentacles being spread by the disease can effectively be checked and women can be saved from the pain and despair that they suffer due to this disease. In Asia, Pakistan has the largest rate of breast cancer with estimated 83,000 cases are annually being reported in our country, and over 40,000 deaths are caused by it, which is alarming. One in every nine Pakistani women develops breast cancer at some stage of her life. Breast cancer has over 90% chances of complete cure, but prevention is in early diagnosis. It is only through creating awareness amongst the women as well as their family members about mammography and breast self-examination that the high prevalence of breast cancer can be reversed. The campaign started by President Arif Alvi also needs to be supported by other government functionaries. The government at its disposal is the state media including Radio Pakistan and PTV which can be used as effective tools to generate awareness amongst women especially those in the rural and far flung areas regarding symptoms and treatment of breast cancer.

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