First Lady Samina Alvi, wife of President Dr Arif Alvi said that awareness about breast cancer and its timely diagnosis were highly important to minimize harm from this disease. She said this at the inaugural ceremony of genetic screening center of breast and ovarian cancer at Lahore General hospital on Monday. Mrs Alvi said that genetic screening facility would help in getting high quality screening for women in the country and ultimately enable timely diagnosis of this cancer. “There is a dire need of getting mammograms done, but affordability is not possible for all sections in a developing country. Therefore, it is necessary for all women to carry out self examination on monthly basis as it is vital for early detection of the disease”, she added. Samina Alvi said, “We have started breast cancer awareness campaign for the last four years and it has really helped in creating awareness.” She said that according to data of Shaukat Khanum Hospital breast cancer patients at first and second stage were coming to hospital in a large number. She said that Kyhber Medical College was working for breast cancer screening and urged the male members to take women of their family to hospital if they talk about any sign related to breast cancer. First Lady said, “Timely detection of the disease not only helps in minimizing the trauma from which a patient suffers but it also reduces financial burden.” She said that efforts were being made for the betterment of differently-abled persons. However, she said there was a need to focus on mental health as it was most important aspect when it comes to facing any challenge. Samina Alvi said there were 13 hospitals in Karachi which were offering free treatment of breast cancer, around 8 in Punjab, 3 in Islamabad and 5 in Kyber Pakhtunkhwa. All tools including helplines, mobile applications etc should be used to spread awareness about breast cancer, she maintained. She further said that collective efforts were required to control the spread of this disease and to reduce mortality rate which was around 50 percent. She said that breast cancer awareness being promoted through cell phones messages was yielding good results and more patients were approaching hospitals as a result of this initiative. She said awareness campaigns were being conducted in major cities of the country, adding that screening and awareness activities were facilitating people of Wana and other far flung areas also. She said that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and other departments helped a lot in creating awareness regarding breast cancer. The country would progress only when it’s people would be healthy, concluded the First Lady. On the occasion, Dr Rubina Soomro from Karachi said that patients of third and fourth stage of cancer were coming to hospital in fewer number. Principal Postgraduate Medical Institute/Ameer ud Din Medical Institute Lahore General Hospital Prof Dr Sardar Muhammad Al Fareed Zafar and Prof Dr Ayesha Shaukat, Prof Ghazala and others also spoke on the occasion. Principal PGMI/AMDI Dr Muhammad Al Fareed Zafar also presented a shield to the first lady.