The month of October is designated as breast cancer awareness month. Numerous conferences are held annually, and there is a push to raise awareness of the illness. Due to the stigma surrounding breast cancer, it is less commonly discussed than other types, which causes a number of women to die from it every year. According to reports, 40,000 of the 90,000 women in Pakistan who had the disease died from it. These statistics highlight the need for increased public awareness as well as the creation of specialized medical facilities, either inside or outside of hospitals, for the early detection and care of breast cancer patients.
Pakistan has the highest mortality rate from breast cancer, which is primarily attributable to the taboo nature of the subject and the dearth of government health facilities because not everyone can afford treatment even if they receive a timely diagnosis. In Pakistan, breast cancer strikes one in every nine women at some point in their lives. The problem is very common among women in the nation. Women themselves, however, do not want to carry the stigma of having breast cancer.
Breast cancer is now also being detected in males. This is another issue as many of those who are diagnosed with it shy away from seeking proper treatment as it is seen more as a woman’s illness. The stigma attacks all factions of society; therefore, it must be removed completely for the betterment of the nation.
Every October, a message about awareness is played in place of the dial tone. Initiatives like these support women in seeking help as soon as they suspect something is wrong and help to reduce the stigma associated with the disease. Women over 40 and even younger women need to be taught how to look for breast cancer symptoms in order to be treated before it worsens. Women should also be taught that they should seek medical attention right away if they notice any abnormalities in their breasts and should not feel embarrassed in the process.
In both urban and rural areas, the government must set up health facilities that focus exclusively on breast cancer. For the convenience of the patient, female doctors must be present at these facilities because the majority of women are reluctant to receive treatment for breast cancer from male physicians. Government intervention is necessary because cancer treatment is very expensive and Pakistan is a third-world nation where many people struggle to make ends meet.
Not only does the government have the responsibility to spread awareness, but educational institutions, the media, and other public and private entities must also put in efforts to work towards spreading information about the fatal illness. Women’s health is often sidelined, which results in the untimely death of an important part of the population. Therefore, awareness campaigns must be started and special units should be created to fight off this illness.
In upper-middle-class households, it has become easier to talk about such illnesses. However, the lower strata of society still hush around this topic. It is imperative for everyone to be educated and aware enough to enable early detection and fight against the illness. No one should suffer and lose their life to any disease, especially not the disease of turning everything into a taboo.
Breast cancer is a serious illness and must be fought against by all means necessary.