First Lady Begum Samina Alvi said that one out of nine women in Pakistan is diagnosed with breast cancer and fifty percent of patients of this disease die due to late diagnosis and stressed for creating maximum awareness in women about this issue to reduce its death rate in the country. She said that many countries have achieved 99 percent recovery rate and 80 percent survival rate of breast cancer patients by creating better awareness in society and we have to work on similar lines to cope with this issue. She said that awareness sessions on breast cancer should be organized throughout the year instead of just in October so that maximum women can be sensitized about the causes and treatment of this disease. She said this while addressing as Chief Guest at an awareness session on breast cancer organized by Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which was attended by a large number of women from various walks of life.
Begum Samina Alvi said that every woman should spare 5 minutes for health and self-examination. She said that she has been patronizing this campaign for the last 4 years due to which an increasing number of breast cancer patients are now coming forward for check-ups during the first and the second stage of this disease. She said that society should support breast cancer patients, which is very important for recovery. She said that 13 hospitals in Karachi, 8 in Punjab, 5 in KPK are providing free treatment to breast patients and more are needed to make its treatment affordable for low income patients. She thanked the private sector, medical universities, media and others for supporting the awareness campaign on breast cancer. Samina Alvi appreciated ICCI for arranging health awareness sessions besides dealing with day-to-day business issues. She said this huge gathering of ladies in the awareness session indicates the important role of ICCI in eradicating cancer and other diseases.
In his welcome address, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that breast cancer is spreading rapidly in Pakistan due to which 40,000 women die of this disease every year. He urged the government to set up a national cancer registry to collect data at the national level for better prevention of the disease. He said the basic health units in rural areas lack staff and facilities for this disease and demanded that the government should provide women medical staff and other facilities in rural health units for screening of breast cancer. He further said that the government in collaboration with private hospitals should launch a national screening campaign for the eradication of the disease across the country. He assured that ICCI would continue to conduct such awareness programs in future to create awareness among more women.
Dr. Faryal Razzaq highlighted the importance of emotional stability, family support and avoiding suppression of emotions to cope with breast cancer issues as emotional trauma is one of the major causes of breast cancer. Amna Salman Butt, a breast cancer survivor shared her experience how to cope with breast cancer disease.