First Lady Begum Samina Arif Alvi has urged women to regularly conduct self-examination and self-diagnosis for five minutes every month for the early detection of breast cancer.
She added that early detection of breast cancer was essential for enhancing the survival rate in Pakistan, where almost 50% of the breast cancer patients died due to late diagnosis.
Begum Samina Alvi expressed these views while addressing a breast cancer awareness session organized by Karachi Bar Association, in Karachi, today. Dr Kausar from a local hospital gave a detailed presentation on breast cancer, its symptoms, importance of early diagnosis, method of self-examination, and living a healthy life.
Addressing the occasion, Begum Samina Alvi highlighted that Breast Cancer was the most common form of cancer found in women, adding that 90-100 thousand cases of breast cancer were being reported in Pakistan every year. She said that almost 50% of breast cancer patients in Pakistan died due late diagnosis, adding that mortality rate could be reduced by creating awareness among women about its early symptoms, and conducting self-examination for every five minutes every month.
Begum Samina Alvi said that as per medical experts, the 5-year survival rates at 3rd and 4th stages were 86% and 28% respectively, which meant that chances of surviving the breast cancer were quite high provided it was detected at the earliest stages. She further said that women should inculcate the habit of self-examination and if they notice any lump or unusual change in their breasts or surrounding areas, they should immediately seek medical help.
Begum Alvi highlighted that she had been working for this cause for the past four years, and due to the grace of Allah Almighty, the awareness campaign had started yielding results. She said that breast cancer sessions were being regularly organized across the country, even in as remote areas as Wana, and people were openly discussion this topic, which was previously considered a taboo. She informed that the number of breast cancer cases at the earliest stages had almost doubled in different hospitals of the country due to awareness and an increase in reporting.
Talking to women lawyers, she said that health women were essential to achieve the dream of a healthy Pakistan, adding that healthy and active women could fully play their role in the socio-economic development of the country. She appreciated the fact that a large number of women were practicing in the legal profession, and 30% members of the Karachi Bar Association were women. She said that Justice Ayesha Malik and the visually impaired diplomat Ms Saima Saleem were role models for Pakistan women, and they proved that women could be an asset for the nation, if equipped with skills and education.
Begum Alvi also lauded the role of media in promoting the message of awareness on breast cancer, adding that media provided valuable support in highlighting the breast cancer awareness activities throughout the country.
The event included large participation from female advocates who asked questions regarding breast cancer during the session held at Karachi Bar Association Auditorium. Further, the panel included speakers who appreciated Begum Samina Alvi for her noteworthy efforts since 2018 in making people aware of how breast cancer was a deadly disease and how 1 out of 9 women in Pakistan were at the risk of having breast cancer.