Be Alert & Take Guards A Serial Killer is on the Loose
Of all the perils our women face, Breast Cancer has become the most precarious as it is claiming 40,000 lives only in Pakistan annually, not to speak of the unreported cases. Every 9th Pakistani women is at high risk of this fatal disease and, if calculated, this number soars up to 10.2 million. This is why the prevalence of Breast Cancer in Pakistan is higher than any another Asian country.
People still feel ashamed while discussing Breast Cancer as they link the disease with female sexuality. This is why a majority of the victims do not report it to their families even.
The risk of Breast Cancer can be reduced by making some ordinary lifestyle changes like quitting processed and canned foods, avoiding overconsumption of chicken, banishing the milk produced with the use of steroids, staying away from smoking and alcohol and switching to organic living but the most important is to stay alert and be aware of the methods of Breast Self-Examination (BSE), Breast Screening and Mammogram so that the disease can be detected at an early stage. Early detection increases the chances of survival by 90%. Breast cancer is the only cancer with external symptoms like cist, lump, rashness and nipples discharge etc.
Unfortunately, a majority of our women are completely unware of the shocking fact that this disease even exists and those who are, do not take it serious. Some taboos and myths associated with this disease make the situation worse.
People still feel ashamed while discussing Breast Cancer as they link the disease with female sexuality. This is why a majority of the victims do not report it to their families even. Moreover, people resort to traditional and orthodox healing methods like spell charms, quacks and herbal medicine which exacerbate the disease to the extent that it leads to death.
Breast Cancer is curable but our women need to be on-guard all the time. They must do BSE on regular basis at home and go for breast screening once in every two years till the age of 30. Once they cross 40, it is highly recommended that they seek mammography once in every two years.
In order to spread awareness about early detection and timely treatment of Breast Cancer, Pink Ribbon Pakistan has been working dedicatedly since last one and a half decade. This self-sustained non-profit organization has achieved a number of milestones with the building of Breast Cancer narrative in mainstream media and public forums being at top. At the beginning of the 21st century, uttering the word of ‘Breast’ on any public forum or media was prohibited but now, people are opening discussing it.
Pink Ribbon commemorates every October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Pakistan and a number of activities are carried out to access masses at large and sensitize them of the perilous problem. The organization, in collaboration with Higher Education Commission (HEC) reaches out to more than 200 colleges and universities across Pakistan and about 0.2 million female students are trained on BSE and other Breast Cancer prevention methods.
Earlier this week, Pink Ribbon illuminated the President House with pink lights to highlight the significance of the issue and attract the public towards the lifesaving cause. Pink Ribbon is building Pakistan’s first dedicated Breast Cancer Hospital in Lahore and this hospital will be a specialized facility for one-stop solution of all the matters related to breast cancer management.
Pink Ribbon has built this year’s PINKtober campaign around #SaveThe9th theme which hinges around motivating people to help the organization complete their hospital so that the life of ever 9th women, who is at high risk of developing this disease, can be saved.
Remember, Breast Cancer is curable but our women need to be on-guard all the time. They must do BSE on regular basis at home and go for breast screening once in every two years till the age of 30. Once they cross 40, it is highly recommended that they seek mammography once in every two years. This care, alertness and precautions can be helpful in either avoiding the disease completely or nipping it in the bud.
The writer is CEO White Ribbon Pakistan and is a development and communications professional with extensive experience in Health Awareness, Behaviour Transformation Communications and Strategic Public Relations. He tweets at @MrOmerAftab.