First Lady, Samina Arif Alvi here Thursday said breast cancer was a fatal disease and underlined the need for collective efforts to win the fight against it. Addressing an awareness seminar against breast cancer as chief-guest here at Khyber Medical College (KMC), she said that over 90 percent of patients could be cured if diagnosed and treated at an early stage. He said about 90,000 to one lakh people were diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the country and around 50 percent of patients died due to delay in diagnosis and treatment. Samina Alvi said the number of women and girls coming to hospitals for screening had increased due to awareness seminars and workshops in all provinces of Pakistan including KP. She said the even awareness sessions and workshops were held at remote areas of Balochistan and Wana in South Waziristan that was a positive step in the right direction. Appreciating the ‘one-stop clinic’ for diagnoses, treatment and follow up tests of the treated patients at Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH), Samina Alvi said that it was praised worthy step of the hospital, which was benefiting a large number of people of Khyber Pakthunkhwa and merged tribal districts. She said doctors and family’s cooperation was imperative to win the battle against the disease. Samina Alvi advised women and girls to adopt the habit of self- examination and immediately come to hospitals and take appointments from specialist doctors for checkup in case of witnessing any abnormal changes. Spearheading awareness campaigns against breast cancer in the country, the first lady said that late diagnosis was the major cause of high mortality rate in women and girls, adding women of all aged groups even male could become its victims. She said it was a social stigma or taboo to speak about the disease, which resulted in delayed diagnosis and treatment that often leads to death. The first lady said there was also a need to focus on rehabilitation and treatment of patients suffering from mental health related problems and persons with disabilities and role of KTH would be important in this regard. She also underlined the need for bringing street children into the mainstream of society by imparting them quality education. Lauding the media’s proactive role in spreading awareness against breast cancer, she said Pakistan was a beautiful country having all resources and we need to work tirelessly for its progress and prosperity. On this occasion, the first lady also witnessed the signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between KTH and Greenstar under which the latter would provide free of cost screening at their centres including at Warsak Road and positive cases would be referred to KTH for further treatment. The MoU was signed by KTH medical director, Dr Muhammad Siraj and Chief Executive Officer Green Star Saeed Aziz. The seminar was also addressed by chairman Board of Governors KTH, Dr Nadeem Khawar, Deans KTH, Dr Mehmood Aurangzaib, Dr Mah Munir, head of oncology surgery department KTH and senior oncologist Dr Iram Sabir Ali and highlighted causes, diagnosis and treatment options of the disease. Dr Iram Sabir said that women of all ages, especially those above 46 years old can become victims. Following diagnoses, she said the treatment plan of patients were prepared and treatment continued till their full recovery. She recommended needle based biopsy tests rather than removal of lump to contain spread of the disease. Dr Mah Munir said that the load of women coming for screening had increased in KTH due to awareness seminars and health programs and underlined the need for strengthening of district headquarters for this purpose. She suggested establishment of a breast cancer registry and national cancer guidelines, promotion of research, parents’ education, increase of equipment and human resources to win the battle. The speakers highly praised the efforts of the first lady for spearheading the awareness campaign against blood cancer in the country including KP. Patients Fozia Saeed from Abbottabad and Sohail Khattak whose 15 family members were affected by the disease shared their pains and experiences. A documentary on breast cancer was also played at KMC for sensitization of the women and girls students and the services offered by the first lady was highlighted. A large number of girls’ students attended the awareness seminar titled ‘healthy women guarantee for progress and prosperity of Pakistan.’ Earlier, the first lady visited KTH, where she inspected facilities and services being provided to patients at the breast cancer ward inaugurated by her in November last year. Samina Alvi met with patients and inquired after their health. Upon arrival at KTH and KMC, she was received by hospital director KTH Zafar Afridi and medical director Muhammad Siraj. The first lady was presented flowers bouquets and shield at KTH and KMH.