CP providing detection and treatment of breast cancer in seven districts: Jhagra

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PESHAWAR: Public Health Association (PHA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in collaboration with Institute of Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine (IRNUM) held an awareness session on KP Breast Cancer Early Detection Initiative on Saturday.

Speaking on the occasion, KP Health and Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra said that the KP government is committed to providing high quality care to breast cancer patients with testing facilities in seven districts.

The event aligned stakeholders around the needs for continued engagement to increase breast cancer awareness, the importance of early detection and the availability of affordable treatments.

Breast cancer is responsible for around 40,000 deaths a year in Pakistan and is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death among women. Any woman can develop breast cancer. The disease also occurs in 1% of the male population. Breast cancer places a heavy financial burden on families while affecting them emotionally and psychologically. Lack of awareness and early detection, social barriers and inaccessibility to the healthcare system are detrimental to the survival of breast cancer patients.

Risk factors include genetic factors such as BRCA 1, 2 and p53 gene mutations, female gender, increasing age, high estrogen exposure, obesity, lack of exercise, stress , early menarche and late menopause, etc.

The speakers pointed out that majority of women assume that breast cancer will not happen to them, while statistics indicate that 1 in 9 women are at risk of getting breast cancer in Pakistan.

Any woman over 40 or with a family history of breast cancer should have the mammogram test since early detection saves lives. Adopting healthy eating habits, exercising regularly, maintaining a normal weight, and avoiding the use of over-the-counter medications, especially hormonal drugs, is recommended by doctors.

Despite the fact that the World Health Organization’s Global Breast Cancer Initiative (GBCI) has set a target of reducing breast cancer deaths by 2% per year worldwide, Pakistan does not have a breast cancer program. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the first province to launch the breast cancer control program in Pakistan which was launched in 2020.

The program provides modern mammography machines to seven divisions of KP namely Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Hazara, Kohat, Malakand, Mardan and Peshawar.

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