Islamabad : On the occasion of ‘PINKtober’ this year, the Pink Ribbon Campaign Pakistan plans to launch a call of action demanding all stakeholders to take appropriate measures for prevention and protection from breast cancer.
October is a global breast cancer awareness month. Pink Ribbon named it ‘PINKtober’ and celebrating it since 2004 to raise awareness on this widespread disease. Pink Ribbon arranges extensive activities in 30 days to raise voice for awareness and protection from grassroots level to policy makers.
This year the focus will be prevention of the disease because breast cancer can be prevented up to 40 per cent by adopting a ‘healthy lifestyle.’ The theme for this year’s PINKtober is ‘BecomeABetterYou’. It revolves around healthy lifestyle with an aim to improve overall well-being of women and girls by enhancing their health, beauty and confidence.
“Taking forward our fight against breast cancer, we have developed a framework which is ‘Breast Cancer Patient-Centric’,” said CEO Pink Ribbon Pakistan Omer Aftab while talking to ‘The News’.
The Pink Ribbon Call for Action highlights the lack of access to adequate diagnostic services and treatment of breast cancer in the country. It says that medicines and molecules that are used in breast cancer of breast cancer are highly expensive and all of them are not available in Pakistan.
It demands including breast cancer in Health Card and waiving off custom duties on diagnostic equipment, especially Mammogram and Ultrasound machines besides controlling the price of breast cancer medicines. It says that cancer-causing ingredients that are used in food should be banned in Pakistan and calls for establishment of National Cancer Registry and of National Cancer Prevention Programme.
Statistics say that 1 out of 9 women is at risk of having breast cancer in Pakistan and 40,000 women die from breast cancer every year in Pakistan. Average 90,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the country and over 10 million in Pakistan are at risk of Breast Cancer. Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer in the whole of Asia. Around 70 per cent of breast cancer patients come for treatment at stage III, therefore survival rate is very low in Pakistan. If detected at an early stage, the chance of surviving increases by up to 90 per cent.
It is concerning that according to Pink Ribbon campaign, it is increasing in our society and young girls have being diagnosed of the disease. A lot of social and cultural taboos are still attached to it, which makes it more difficult to talk about the issue. With overall low level of awareness among masses, early detection is still a major issue even in metro cities. Due to marital and financial issues many women don’t opt for treatment. Adding to that, there is no dedicated Hospital for breast cancer in Pakistan.
Published in THE NEWS