Associated Press of Pakistan
KARACHI: Pakistan registers one of the highest incidence rates of breast cancers in the world with environmental factors suspected as main culprit to trigger the ailment.
Dr Rufina Soomro, consultant general surgeon, specially trained in breast cancer surgery, told journalists following a Pakistan Medical Association organised seminar on Breast Cancer, Tuesday evening.
The senior surgeon said women from different parts of Sindh and Balochistan, besides those residing in Karachi come to her, for the needed intervention and large majority comprise those exposed to contamination in one or the other form. To a question she said no cancer registry exists in the country, which has hindered availability of authentic data, but verbal discussion with patients and their care taker does establish that women exposed to ultra-violet rays, fumes, chemicals, insecticides and pesticides could be the unassuming victims.
“Even then these women could had a better quality life if were timely diagnosed and provided with immediate medical intervention,” Dr Rufina said. She said regular self examination by each women herself, after assuming puberty, and clinical examination by health workers, even dais (traditional birth attendants) and lady health visitors can help diagnosis and needed medical intervention.
“Constant development in the medical science has turned breast cancer into a largely treatable and curable condition for which timely diagnosis is the key,” said the surgeon.
Earlier, the PMA-Karachi seminar held to mark the International Breast Cancer Month was addressed by one of the country’s most senior oncologist, Prof Manzoor Hussain Zaidi, Dr Nehal Masood, Consultant Hematologist and Oncologist, AKUH, Surgeon Dr Rufina Soomro and Dr Samrina Hashmi, General Secretary, PMA-Karachi.
Prof Manzoor Hussain Zaidi highlighted importance of prompt diagnosis and therapy for women as well men suffering from the condition.
Prof Manzoor Hussain Zaidi, the guest of honour on the occasion, strongly dispelled the rampant misconception that “biopsy” does or could in any way accelerate spread of cancer among patients approaching doctors with tumours.
Tumours can be benign or cancerous and biopsy could be an essential requirement to asses their exact status, said the experienced oncologist.
Prof Zaidi also recommended concerted efforts to educate and persuade women as well as health-care providers about importance and relevance of mass scale screening against breast cancers, through simple techniques.
Surgeon Rufina Soomro in her elaborate presentation said breast cancer constitutes 20% of all cancers diagnosed among women is. It is most prevalent in 35-45 years of age women and most of these women are diagnosed at stage III cancer in which 5 years survival rate is 48%, she said.
Risk factors of breast cancer were said to include early menarche, late menopause, late first birth and most potently a strong family history, however, genetic factors were found to contribute only 13% to 15% of the registered cases.
Dr Nehal Masood, Consultant Hematologist Oncologist AKUH, said the treatment of breast cancer has come a long way from a very crude surgical method to very specialised surgical technique such as sentinel lymph node biopsy and breast reconstruction.