With rise in breast cancer cases in Kashmir, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday has sought mammography facilities at valley’s primary health centers for early detection of breast cancer cases.
“Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said mammogram is the X-ray of the breast. It is the best way to detect breast cancer early before there are signs and symptoms of the disease.
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Kashmiri women and women should be screened annually after they turn 40,” he said.
“Those who are at high risk for breast cancer, such as women with family history of breast cancer or genetic risk factors for the disease should start screening before age 40,” he added.
The DAK President said results from many decades of research clearly shows that women who have regular mammograms are more likely to have found breast cancer earlier, are less likely to need aggressive treatment, and are more likely to be cured.
He said for a population of 7 million people, Kashmir has only one machine at GMC Srinagar. Lack of screening facilities is a barrier for early detection of breast cancer cases.
Dr Nisar said Kashmir has witnessed a rise in breast cancer cases over the years.
In the last 2 years over 1000 females with breast cancer have been registered with population-based cancer register operational at SKIMS Soura.
The valley experiences a high death rate of breast cancer patients which is mainly because of late presentation.
“Women in Kashmir because of socio-cultural structure and religious values are hesitant to get their breasts examined by male health-care providers, hence the need for more women specialists in peripheral healthcare,” he said.
General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said in conservative milieu, women in Kashmir feel shy of sharing any breast related issue with their family members and even feel embarrassed in practicing breast self examination which is the easiest method for the detection of breast tumors.
“There is a dire need to educate and make women aware about the importance of screening which can catch the disease early when it is most curable,” he said.
“The month of October is globally observed as breast cancer awareness month,” he added.