Pakistan has highest incidence of breast cancer in Asia

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KARACHI: The incidence of breast cancer is increasing in the developing world due to an increase in life expectancy, increase in urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles, experts discussed on occasion of “Pink Ribbon Day” on Tuesday.

69% of all breast cancer deaths occur in developing countries which is very alarming for our continent. This is explained mainly by the lack of early detection programs, resulting in a high proportion of women presenting with the late-stage disease the lack of adequate diagnosis and treatment facilities”, said Dr Nida Wahid Bashir, Consultant Breast Surgeon, Dr Ziauddin Hospital.

She was speaking on the occasion of “Pink Ribbon Day” an awareness activity organized by Dr Aijaz Fatima Cancer Patient Welfare Society in collaboration with Ziauddin University to mark Cancer Awareness Month.

Every year 40,000 women die of breast cancer and 90,000 new cases are being diagnosed in Pakistan which is the highest rate of breast cancer in Asia.

“On stage zero, there is a 100% chance to survive from breast cancer similarly on stage 1, 98%, on stage 2, 88%, stage 3, 52%, and on stage 4 patients have only 16% chances to survive from this fatal disease,” Dr Fatima apprised the gathering.

Maintaining a healthy weight throughout life, exercising, avoiding alcohol, and breastfeeding are the few factors which can lower down only 1 third (33%) risks of breast cancer it means 67% chances of breast cancer are still present. Early detection in order to improve breast cancer outcome and survival remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control”, she exclaimed.

Speaking of modifiable risk factors and non-modifiable risk factors of breast cancer, Dr Nida Wahid said that body weight, physical activity, alcohol use, smoking, exposure to hormones, pregnancy and breastfeeding, radiation exposure are modifiable risk factors. Whereas, non-modifiable risk factors include gender and age, personal cancer history, family cancer history and genetics, early menstruations and late menopause, breast density and breast sizes.

“By avoiding smoking, alcohol, dairy products, electromagnetic radiation, red meat, obesity, late first birth of the child, hormone replacement therapy we can get rid of breast cancer. We can save ourselves by including healthy activities in our lives like exercise, diet, and fast walking, climbing stairs rather than taking a lift and avoid sitting after meals”, she affirmed

Earlier, Amir Shahzad, Convener, Dr Aijaz Fatima Cancer Patient Welfare Society, in his introductory presentation said that according to research every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and every 13 minutes a woman dies due to this fatal disease. “Every 1 out of 9 women in Pakistan is facing breast cancer. In developing and underdeveloped countries most of the women with breast cancer are diagnosed in last stages due to lack of awareness on early detection and barriers to health services,” Shahzad said.