Breast cancer is disease, not taboo: First Lady

By Minahil Makhdoom

ISLAMABAD: First Lady Samina Arif Alvi on Friday said around 40,000 Pakistani women die every year because of breast cancer, requiring an urgent action including awareness and early diagnosis to control the alarming mortality rate.
Addressing at the Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar here at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Hospital, the First Lady said treating breast cancer as a ‘disease, not a taboo’ would encourage the women to go for regular checkups, thus leading to early diagnosis.
Samina Alvi, who is leading an extensive breast cancer awareness campaign throughout the month of October, urged upon women to remain wary of any unusual appearance of nodes in breasts and consult doctor for clinical examination.
She lauded PAF hospital for supporting the cause of awareness about breast cancer at airbases and by setting up medical camps in far-flung areas besides collaborating with the government initiatives. She expressed satisfaction over the screening facilities provided at Breast Cancer Clinic of the PAF hospital, both for the forces’ personnel and civilians.
President Pakistan Air Force Women’s Association (PAFWA) Tazeen Majeed said though PAF hospital was already extending clinical services on breast cancer, however the recent collaboration with the First Lady’s initiative would augment its effectiveness.
Squadron Leader Dr Sidra Abdullah at PAF Hospital in a presentation on risks and awareness of breast cancer said one in eight women developed the disease at some stage of their lives with fifty percent deaths due to late diagnosis. She mentioned female gender, family history and increasing age as non-modifiable while weight loss, breastfeeding, smoking and alcohol as modifiable risk factors to help prevent breast cancer.
Squadron Leader Bushra Raheem, a survivor of breast cancer, advised the women for regular self-examination at the end of every menstrual cycle. Earlier, the First Lady visited different stalls set up by the Breast Cancer Clinic highlighting the disease through posters and diagrams.