The Public Health Association (PHA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in collaboration with the Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (IRNUM) held an awareness session on the Breast Cancer Early Detection Initiative of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa today. Taimur Khan Jhagra, KP Health and Finance Minister, who was the Chief Guest at the occasion, said the KP government is committed to provide high quality care to Breast Cancer patients with testing facilities in seven districts.
Despite the fact that the World Health Organization Global Breast Cancer Initiative (GBCI) has set the target to reduce 2% Breast cancer related deaths per year worldwide, Pakistan lacks Breast Cancer control program. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the first province to initiate Breast Cancer Control Program in Pakistan, which initiated in 2020. The program envisions to provision of modern Mammograph machines in seven divisions of KP namely, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Hazara, Kohat, Malakand, Mardan, and Peshawar.
Breast Cancer accounts for approximately 40, 000 deaths per year in Pakistan. It is one of the leading cause of cancer related deaths among female. Every woman can develop Breast Cancer. The disease also occurs in 1% of male population. Breast Cancer puts a lot of financial burden on the families while effecting them both emotionally and psychologically. Lack of awareness, and early detection, social barriers and inaccessibility to the health care system is detrimental to the survival of breast cancer patients.
The risk factors include genetic factors like BRCA 1, 2 & p 53 gene mutations, female gender, growing age, high estrogen exposure, obesity, lack of exercise, stress, early menarche and late menopause etc.
The speakers emphasized that majority of the women assume that Breast Cancer will not happen to them, while the stats point that 1 out 8 woman is at risk of suffering from breast cancer in Pakistan.
Any women over 40 years, or having family history of breast cancer should go for the Mammography test, since early detection saves lives. Switching to healthy eating habits, regular exercise, maintaining normal weight, avoiding the use of over-the-counter medication, specially hormonal medicines are suggested by physicians.
Public Health Association (PHA) KPK and FATA which focuses on provision of Public health services and improve health policies initiated the campaign struggle for Breast Cancer Control Program in the province, which was later joined by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (IRNUM) and other high profile partners.
The event was attended by Secretary Health KP, Amer Sultan Tarin; Dr. Aakif Ullah Khan, Director IRNUM; founding President of Public Health Association, Dr. Saima Abid; Director Curative Health Department, renowned oncologists, surgeons, faculty staff and medical students.