Pinktober: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By: Rehan Hashmi

The official color of ‘October’ is ‘Pink’ as this month is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns around the world.  Pink Days, Pink Ribbon Walks, and Breast Cancer Awareness initiatives are organized all around us to spread the word among masses. Prevention, screening, treatment of breast cancer and other issues pertaining to this cause are raised via these activities. In western societies, talk about breast cancer has been prevalent but now it is being highlighted in developing countries as well.

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What Happens in Breast Cancer?

Breast Cancer is a predominant cancer in women around the world. The term ‘breast cancer’ refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. It happens due to uncontrolled growth of the breast cells and which spread to nearby tissues and lymph nodes. This devastating disease is curable if diagnosed timely at an early stage. In such a scenario, survival rate of patients is over 90% as early diagnose helps in combating this ailment.

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Breast Cancer Risk Factors

There are some certain risk factors that increase the chances of developing breast cancer in women. However in majority of the cases, it is difficult to know what exactly caused this lethal disease.

  • Age

Older women, middle-aged to be precise are at a higher risk the chances of developing breast cancer are more. Doctors recommend regular checkup for women aged below 40 years and mammography screening for those who are above 40 years.

  • Obesity

Women who gain weight especially with an increased waist girth, around the age of menopause have increased chances of breast cancer.

  • Inheritance Risk

In some women, breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRAC2 are inherited and owing to family history they are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer at an early age.

  • Exposure to Estrogen Hormone

Women who are overexposed to estrogen due to early periods, late menopause or late childbirth, may have higher chances of developing breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Treatment

In the last two decades, medical science has come a long way with different methodologies to treat breast cancer patients. Following are these treatment trends for breast cancer depending upon its stage at presentation.

  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Targeted Therapy

Breast Cancer Awareness in Pakistan

Pakistan, alarmingly, has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Asia. According to a report, around 83,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Pakistan annually and 40,000 women die of this disease every year. Breast Cancer Awareness is no longer a taboo topic in our country now as the very cause is getting a push by celebrities, brands and the media. The breast cancer awareness campaign is on full boom across the country through these prospects.

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  • Shaukat Khanum Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

Pakistan only cancer dedicated hospital keeps the tradition of running a full fledged breast cancer awareness campaign in the whole country. Its ‘Pinktober’ activities are underway in all major cities of Pakistan giving a strong message to women that they should take care of themselves.

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  • Chughtai Lab’s #ThinkPink

Chughtai Diagnostic Lab is carrying the initiative of #ThinkPink in Pakistan in order to promote breast cancer awareness among masses. Be it talks at universities, awareness sessions, walks, and or some other activity, Chughtai Lab continually displays its commitment for breast cancer consciousness among women.

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  • Celebrities Come Forward To Fight Breast Cancer

Celebrity endorsement for a cause has a great impact and Pakistani celebrities have come forward to fight breast cancer. This year showbiz stars Mahira Khan, Ayesha Khan, Maya Ali along with former captain Pakistan Women Cricket Team Sana Mir have join hands with Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH). Motivational speaker, artist and anchor like Muniba Mazari are the face of Chughtai Lab’s #ThinkPink campaign.

  • Brands Support to Breast Cancer Awareness

Some popular brands have become helping hands in combating breast cancer including GulAhmed, Generation, Softlan Fabric Conditioner. GulAhmed has signed an MoU with Pink Ribbon and is currently helping this organization in collecting donations to build up Pakistan’s first Breast Cancer Hospital.

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