By Mudassir Raja
Pakistan Women Association Qatar organises the fourth
edition of its Think Pink campaign.
High prevalence and incident of breast cancer around the world has been a cause of concern. Efforts are being made to raise awareness among women about the disease, with the emphasis being on early detection being the best chance for survival.
Think Pink is a worldwide campaign to raise awareness among women about breast cancer, relevant precautions, routine screenings, and available treatments.
In this connection, Pakistan Women Association Qatar (PWA-Q) recently held the fourth edition of their Think Pink campaign at The Next Generation school. The event was attended by female teachers of the school and mothers of the students.
Dr Surya Balachandran, an Indian expatriate associated with Naseem Al Rabeeh Medical Centre in Qatar, and Dr Shaheen Manzur, associated with Qatar Petroleum, were the main speakers. Dr Monaza Zaffar, a young doctor from Pakistan, hosted the seminar. Abida Irfan Taj, wife of Irfan Taj, defence attache at the Pakistani embassy, was the chief guest.
Talking to Community, Rahat Mansoor, founding president of PWA-Q, said that they held the programme at the school as they wanted to raise awareness among teachers and mothers of the students.
She said, “This was our fourth edition of Think Pink campaign. The campaign continues the entire year, but October is a specified month to focus on to raise awareness among women about breast cancer. Susan G Komen of Breast Cancer Foundation was the first to use pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness. She had been handing out bright pink visors to breast cancer survivors since the late 1990s.”
Mansoor said, “All the participants got a lot of new information about what breast cancer is, how it can be avoided, how it can be diagnosed, and how it can be cured. The participants took keen interest in the presentations made by the experts. The focus of all presentations was early cancer detection.”
She noted, “During a session of general discussion, the experts and chief guest stressed that women need to take care of their health. A healthy mother is as important as a healthy father. Women tend not to take care of their health. They do care about the health of their husbands and children but they care the least about their own health. The speakers told the participants that if a mother is healthy, she would be in a better position to take care of her family.”
Talking to Community, Dr Shaheen Manzur said, “Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers of females in the world. But in less than one percent cases, males can also be affected.”
She added, “According to WHO’s data, 1.7 million people can be affected with this cancer every year. Early detection is the best chance for treatment of the disease and survival of the patients is 95% if it is detected early and confined to one breast.”
Responding to a question on reasons for the cancer, she said, “There are many reasons that can cause the cancer. The [best prevention is to have] a healthy lifestyle and maintain normal weight. Breastfeeding also protects you against breast cancer. If a woman does not give birth before the age of 35, she is at higher risk; so is early menarche and late menopause. The chances of getting the cancer double for a person if she has family history of the cancer – that is if a first-degree relative suffered from it. The risks of getting the cancer are higher for older women. There are more chances that a woman will be affected if she is older than 50 years of age.”
When asked if the cancer can be avoided, she said, “Routine breast screening is a must for early detection. For it is only through early detection that the patient will have higher survival chances. Women should learn to do self-breast examination and put it into practice monthly. Healthy living, regular breast feeding, and avoiding smoking also help in keeping the cancer away.”
“The incidence of breast cancer in Qatar is 53 breast cancer patients among every 100,000, according to statistics gathered between 2008 and 2011. About three percent patients are between 15-19 years of age,” she noted.
She said that Qatar has the best facilities to treat cancer. “A helpline — 8001112 — has been set up by LEABAIB Breast Cancer Screening Programme. All women over 45 years of age residing in Qatar with valid health card and resident permit can visit the centre.”
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