Social media could prove an effective platform for creating awareness about breast cancer. Alvi Begum Samina Alvi says early examination was the only way to control & reduce the incidents of breast cancer

Social media could prove an effective platform for creating awareness about breast cancer: President Alvi

Says if breast cancer was detected at early stages, 99% of breast cancer patients could be saved

Begum Samina Alvi says early examination was the only way to control & reduce the incidents of breast cancer

ISLAMABAD ( Web News )

President Dr. Arif Alvi has called upon social media influencers to create awareness about breast cancer and highlight the need for conducting regular self-examinations for its detection at the earlier stages. He added that social media could prove an effective platform for creating awareness about breast cancer and helping reduce the mortality rate in Pakistan due to this deadly cancer.

President Dr. Arif Alvi made these remarks while addressing the social media influencers as part of the breast cancer awareness campaign, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, on Friday.

Speaking on the occasion, President Dr. Arif Alvi said that if breast cancer was detected at early stages, 99% of breast cancer patients could be saved and could live healthy and normal lives. “If the cancer is detected at the 3rd and 4th stages, the 5-year survival rate is up to 86% and 28% respectively, which can be significantly higher if detected and treated at an early stage”, he added.

The President highlighted that breast cancer incidents were highest in South Asia as compared to the other regions and were even higher in Pakistan due to a lack of screening programmes in the country. “Our country does not have the resources to provide clinical screening facilities to all the breast cancer patients across the country due to the small number of screening machines but the same function can be performed by the women themselves, and if they find any growth in their breast areas or around it, they should immediately report and seek medical help”, he said.

The President said that the incidents of breast cancer could be minimized by adopting a healthier lifestyle, adding that we should consume a balanced diet including vegetables and fruits and should avoid smoking, alcohol or other drugs, and exercise regularly.

The President said that we needed to empower women in financial and economic terms and provide space to them in society and public places so that they could perform all the routine functions without harassment, intimidation or fear. He said that a harassment-free environment for women would help them contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country.

President Dr. Arif Alvi said that social media influencers should use creative means for spreading breast cancer awareness among the population, especially in small towns and rural areas. He added that creative images, videos and other products, which are made keeping in view cultural and social norms, could help spread the message of early detection, self-examination and seeking timely medical aid.

He further said that taboo attached to breast cancer needed to be removed by educating not only the females but also the male members of the population at all levels, including schools, colleges and universities.

The President emphasized that according to Islamic teachings, women should breastfeed their babies for at least two years and according to WHO, children should not be fed even water or other food during the early six months. He said that proper nutrition for the mother and children during the first thousand days was important to avoid stunting. “Unfortunately, the stunting ratio in Pakistan is around 40% which is extremely high, which reduces the mental and physical health of the child, besides reducing the productivity, efficiency and prosperity of the nation”, he added.

He called upon the social media influencers to help the efforts of Mrs Samina Alvi, who had been instrumental in creating breast cancer awareness for four years and with her committed efforts the rate of reporting of breast cancer cases at early stages had been increasing by 10% every year.

He said that the successful awareness campaign regarding early detection and self-examination would reduce the burden on the public health system and would help avoid chemotherapy, radiography and other expensive surgical interventions.

Begum Samina Alvi, while speaking on the occasion, said that early examination was the only way to control and reduce the incidents of breast cancer. She said that a well-thought-out and coordinated plan of action had been devised, besides sending letters to the Prime Minister, MNAs, MPAs, media, and all chambers of commerce around the country to become partners in the breast cancer awareness campaign, which would be continued for the entire year.

Earlier, Oncologist Dr. Fauzia Abdus Samad emphasized the need for living a healthier life and conducting self-examination and mammograms to diagnose the disease at its early stages and to get it treated while avoiding significant expenditures.

A large number of social media persons attended the interactive session and asked questions, which were replied to by the President, Mrs Samina Alvi and Dr. Fauzia.