Registry of female cancer patients at different hospitals reveals that, in numbers, breast cancer topped all other forms of the disease due to unawareness and shyness in sharing the symptoms, said cancer specialists yesterday.
“In developed countries, one among every eight women is found suffering from breast cancer. In Bangladesh, one among every 10 women is suffering from breast cancer,” said Prof Mohammad Golam Mostafa of histopathology at National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital (NICRH).
Highlighting his experience in dealing with breast cancer, he said, “In Bangladesh many women aged between 15 and 20 are found suffering from breast cancer which is rare for other countries.”
In his opinion, Golam says it was due to eating vegetables and fruits which have been treated with toxic chemicals.
He was addressing a press conference organised by Bangladesh Breast Cancer Awareness Forum (BBCAF) at Jatiya Press Club on their observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Day yesterday.
According to BBCAF, breast cancer, among all cancers affecting women, causes the highest number of deaths in industrially developed countries. Taking the first child after 30 years, refraining from breastfeeding, having a diet rich in fat and lacking vegetables, drinking alcohol and obesity are among the main reasons for breast cancer.
“Twenty percent of breast cancer (cases) turns out aggressive which can not be cured at all while 80 percent is curable through treatment. If breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage then 30-35 percent of patients become cured totally,” Golam said, adding that breast cancer turns out deadly if found in young women.
Prof Sabera Khatun, chairman of the Department of Gynaecological Oncology at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said awareness should be raised among rural women as they feel shy in sharing their problems.
“They come to us at a time when the cancer reaches an advanced level and in a more complicated situation,” she said.
A cancer patient needs mental support to overcome the disease, said cancer survivor Tahmina Gaffar, adding, “We need your affection, not mercy.”
BBCAF Coordinator Habibullah Talukder Ruskin said awareness campaigns would be held almost every day this month.
A “pink road show” would be brought out across the capital on October 22 when leaflets would be distributed.
Bangladesh Cancer Society Hospital will also provide free screening through female doctors at its Darussalam premises in Mirpur.
Lawmaker Kazi Rozi and NICRH Director Prof Dr Shamiul Islam Sady also spoke.