First Breast Cancer Awareness seminar organized at Lahore Campus

“It’s time to wear it pink. It’s time to beat Breast Cancer.” The slogan says it all.

October is specialized as the Breast Cancer Awareness month, a time annually when the international campaign is organized by charities world over to create awareness and to help combat the disease. This year students of FAST-NU Lahore Campus also contributed to the global initiative and arranged the first of its kind Breast Cancer Awareness seminar on campus.
            The student team consisting of Hamid Ali, the Shaukat Khanum student ambassador for FAST-NU Lahore, Asad Abdullah, Mishaal Tauseef, Ans Shabbir, Fiza Saeed, Taha Zaidi and Fariha Nasir arranged the seminar on 29 October, 2013. A team from the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital was invited including Dr. Shumaila Shabbir, Oncologist at Shaukat Khanum, Ms. Naila Khan, Marketing Head at Shaukat Khanum and the face of the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign in Pakistan, the well-known model and actress, Ms. Aamina Sheikh.
             The female students and many female teachers filled in the new auditorium in large numbers.    Dr. Shumaila Shabbir started the session by emphasizing that while breast cancer itself could be treated if detected early, what is equally life threatening is ignorance and negligence about the disease. Her presentation focused on the signs and symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis, classification, surgery and prevention practices of breast cancer. The willingness to gather information about this fatal disease could be witnessed from the enthusiasm of the audience as they engaged in the question answer session winsomely.
          Dr. Bushra Anjum, Assistant Professor from the Computer Science Department at FAST Lahore, was invited on stage who emphasized the right of every woman to know about this fatal disease and encouraged the audience to talk about this disease with their friends and families rather than considering the issue a social taboo. Then came the moment about which the audience was most excited. Ms. Aamina Sheikh took the stage and talked to the audience. She engaged the audience lightly and skillfully by first asking them about the TV dramas they watch. Slowly she shifted towards the topic at hand. Ms. Aamina Sheikh reiterated that Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer in Asia and its prevalence in the country is highest among all the cancers in the country, a staggering 38 per cent. 1 out of 9 women in the country are at risk of contracting the disease and 40,000 die of it every year. She stated wisely that Pakistan has to overcome countless barriers such as illiteracy, misconceptions, social stigma and lack of medical and infrastructure facility. She also talked about the Mobile App “YouMatter” which is designed to help raise awareness about the disease and includes reminders and a step-by-step guide on how to carry out a self-exam.
        The audience left the hall determined to join hands in fighting against the disease. The guest team left the university happy and accomplished and the host team left elated to have conducted the event successfully. More pictures of the event can be found here More information on the Mobile App YouMatter can be found here