25th October which is known as World Breast Cancer Day was celebrated by Afghan Society Against Cancer with close collaboration of Kabul Medical University and Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan.
In this valuable event which was held in Auditorium of Kabul Medical University, apart from ASAC members, several other officials from government and non governmental bodies had participated. The speakers appreciated this initiative by Afghan Society Against Cancer and declared the importance of Self Breast Examination and Cancer Awareness Program, since SBE is not common in Afghanistan and patients come to doctors in late stages of cancer, therefore the mortality rate is high.
In terms of number of new cases, breast cancer is the third most frequent cancer in the world and by far the most common malignancy of women. Worldwide, the ratio of mortality to incidence is about 61%. As a result, breast cancer ranks as the fifth cause of death from cancer overall, although it is still the leading cause of cancer mortality in women.
Afghan Society Against Cancer also prepared some pink ribbon and published around 10000 pink colour leaflets on Self Breast Examination in local language (Dari Language) which shows and teach how to do self breast examination with deferent positions schematically and were distributed among the women communities trough the volunteer girls of ASAC from Kabul Medical University. Meanwhile several banners which indicated the importance of this day were published.
Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, which was started in 25th October, will continue till end of this month to raise this issue more among the community and to advocate more this topic in Afghanistan.
Dr. Muhammad Shafiq, MD
Secretary General, Afghan Society Against Cancer
Surgeon, Maiwand Teaching Hospital
Kabul – Afghanistan
Dr. Shafiq connected with LIVESTRONG this summer, seeking assistance and support for ASAC’s mission to build a cancer control program in Afghanistan and provide better care and support for people affected by cancer in the country. We learned that they are the only organization in the country fighting cancer, and that there is no existing center or hospital for cancer treatment. “We cannot do anything for them, only we are operating them with no follow up of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. If they could afford they are traveling to the neighboring country Pakistan or India, but the remaining poor people are counting their remaining days of lives,” he told members of LIVESTRONG‘s Global Team.
To make matters more challenging, he remarked that “there are millions of dollars coming to this country from USAID and other [sources] but no one has paid attention in this regards. We discussed this issue with our Ministry of Public Health, they says at the moment they have no plan for cancer, they are just focusing on primary health care.”
At the UICC World Cancer Congress held this past August in Shenzhen China, LIVESTRONG was able to arrange discussions between Dr. Shafiq and some of the foremost experts on cancer in the Middle East in an effort to catalyze ASAC’s work and garner more resources and support from the cancer community.
In Afghanistan, breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women, when detected, yet there are significant challenges preventing early detection (like cancer stigma). When patients do come to doctors, the vast majority are in late stages of cancer- which means most women with breast cancer in Afghanistan don’t survive.
-Rebekkah Schear, Program Manager, Global Mission