Uzma Qasim, a consultant oncologist in Shifa hospital, said that "about 90,000 new cases of breast cancer were reported in Pakistan last year and about 40,000 women died of the disease in 2017 in the country which is a very alarming situation and need immediate attention."
Nausheen Ambar, a physician from Karachi, pointed out that women do not know about self-examination and they ignore the initial symptoms of the disease because they take it as a taboo to talk to their physicians about breast cancer issue.
Doctors said that about 90 percent of deaths from cancer occur in low-income people mainly because of lack of access to diagnosis and unaffordable treatment for the disease.
Cancer hospitals are only located in big cities so people from remote areas need to take a long travel to get themselves treated. Nageena Bibi, a resident of Chakwal district said that she receives treatment from a herbalist in her village because she cannot afford the cost of travel.
"I went to a public hospital, they asked me to visit thrice a month for free treatment, but the bus driver takes 750 rupees (about 7 U.S. dollars) for round trip. I earn only 6,000 rupees a month from which I have to meet other expenses too," Bibi told Xinhua.
She knows that the herbalist will not save her life from the disease, but she cannot afford to get treatment for the disease in hospital. She said that she preferred the village herbalist that only takes 100 rupees for medicine only for a temporary relief in pain.
Local watchers believe that people should adopt a healthy lifestyle to protect themselves from cancer at first place, and the government should also allocate more funds to hospitals not only in big cities, but also in small cities and towns to facilitate low-income people in remote areas.