BREAST CANCER IS INCREASING IN PAKISTAN EACH YEAR

KANWAL SALEEM, Lahore
Oct 01 - 07, 2007

The incidence of breast cancer is increasing in Pakistan each year which accounted for nearly 35-percent of all cancers in female in Pakistan and there is a great need to educate women about the risk factors involved. This was stated by the Controller of Examination of the University of Health Sciences (UHS), Dr. Junaid S. Khan in a lecture on "Breast cancer-a myth or reality''.

Dr. Junaid informed the gathering that according to a survey, there were 57 new cases of breast cancer every 100,000 women in Pakistan. ''This means that there are 90,000 new cases of breast cancer in Pakistan every year, and half of these cases occur in Punjab alone. If not treated 75-percent of women with breast cancer would die within 5 years of diagnosis''.

In Pakistan, he said treatments range from doing nothing to applying dermal poultice to hurried up mutilating resections. Breast Cancer, therefore, is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in women in Pakistan.

He said that the most pragmatic solution to early detection lay in breast cancer education of women. ''Women should be educated about the general as well as individual risk factors. They should be helped in gaining competence in breast self examination. However, the most important thing that she should know is that as a women she stands some risk of developing breast cancer (lifetime risk 14.3 per cent, assuming one lives till the age of 90) and at least, a twice yearly check up by a specialist and a mammogram every one to three years is going to help in timely diagnosis of the cancer which in turn will markedly increase the chances of cure and survival", he emphasized.

Moreover, Health Minister Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal has stressed upon the doctors community to launch massive awareness campaign for sensitizing the people about hazardous aspects of smoking so as to prevent diseases of TB, heart, lungs, bronchitis and various types of lungs cancer.

According to him, billions of rupees are being wasted on smoking annually which is major cause of spread of deadly diseases like TB, lungs cancer and even cardio vascular diseases.

He said the TB-DOTS programme was being implemented in 35 districts in Punjab and the chest specialist at the DHQs and a designated medical officer at the THQs are responsible for carrying out DOTS related activities whereas, TB DOTS medicines and test facilities are available at RHCs and BHUs also. He added that international donor institutions would provide US $270 million grant for the elimination of TB, Polio and HIV/AIDS out of which US $62 million would be spent for the eradication of TB from the country.

He further said that Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) aims at reducing morbidity, disabilities and mortality caused by seven vaccine preventable diseases namely Childhood Tuberculosis, Poliomyelitis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Measles, Neonatal tetanus and Hepatitis-B by vaccinating all children below one year of age, in addition, all pregnant women are vaccinated against tetanus. The priority targets of the programme are polio eradication followed by elimination of Neonatal Tetanus and Measles, he added.