LAHORE: Breast cancer is no longer a death sentence, and to get this message across, there must be efforts to dispel fears and infuse optimism into the lives of hundreds of women, their families and the community at large.The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) organised a special event as part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Thursday at the hospital. The event was part of the campaign launched by the hospital to create awareness among the masses about breast cancer.Famous cricketer from Pakistani team Sana Mir was chief guest as being the ambassador for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital’s breast cancer awareness campaign. Hundreds of students from women colleges and universities and working women from the corporate sector attended the event.SKMCH&RC Associate Director Marketing Naila Khan welcomed guests and stressed the need for spreading awareness about breast cancer. She said that the main purpose of setting up this colorful event and inviting the worthy guests was to share the information and research that the SKMCH&RC has done in the field of breast cancer.Radiation Oncology consultant Dr Mazhar Ali Shah talked about the importance of early detection in taking curative measures to fight back cancer and heal its victim.He demonstrated the methods of self-examination and stressed over the practice of self-examination to be held once a month as mandatory.Medical Oncology consultant Dr Umm-e-Kulsoom explained the different methods taken up at the hospital. She said that the facility was equipped with all the latest methodology and technology needed to deal with cancer issues. She further explained that the targeted curative measures for cancer treatment were exceptionally expensive. Surgical Oncology consultant Dr Amina Khan explained about the probability of breast cancer. She said that among the non-modifiable causes of breast cancer the most common reason was the aging effect. “With the increase in age, probability for breast cancer increases. Hence after the age of 40 each woman should consult an oncologist and have herself tested through mammography at least once a year.” Surgical Oncology consultant Dr Zulqurnain Chaudhari and Medical Oncology senior consultant Dr Neelam Siddiqui held the question and answer session. During this session different students questioned about the detection, symptoms, treatments and side effects of breast cancer treatment procedure. The event concluded with the address of SKMCH&RC Chief Medical Officer Dr Muhammad Aasim Yusuf. In his thanks-giving note, he requested all the audience to share their learning with every next person they meet and hence contribute to the great cause of the hospital in saving as many lives as possible.Separately, Mayo Hospital’s Department of Surgery arranged a breast cancer awareness walk in the hospital. A large number of doctors, nurses, medical students, paramedical staff and others joined the walk to create awareness among citizens, especially women, regarding the diseases.Health experts said on the occasion that Pakistan had to overcome countless barriers such as illiteracy, misconception, social stigma and lack of medical facility in order to counter this disease. They also pointed out some ethical issues in the detection and treatment of the disease.While talking to Daily Times, health experts shared their views that awareness about breast cancer was catching up. “Girls should start self-examination of their breasts from the age of 18. Women are still hesitant to come in for screening. They are afraid of cancer and think they will never get it. Even educated persons think cancer means death, but it is not so,” said an expert. They called breast cancer a ‘sad disease’ as it occurs at an early age and is diagnosed at a very late stage. Published in Daily Times, October 13th 2017.