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Expat Health Insurance News: Pakistan 'has low awareness' of breast cancer issues

Women in Pakistan are frequently unaware of the importance of examinations for breast cancer, research has shown.

Expatiates relocating abroad to the Asian nation may wish to ensure they check themselves for the condition, after a study in the Journal of the American College of Radiology found females in Pakistan have only limited awareness of screening and detection practices for breast cancer.

Furthermore, they are less likely than many people to have an awareness of the occurrence of the illness or the importance of clinical or self-breast exams.

This is despite the fact that the incidence of the illness is rising and the disease is the most common cancer that affects women.

In Pakistan, it is also usually diagnosed in younger women at a later stage than what is usually seen in western nations.

International private medical insurance policies can be used to pay for breast cancer screenings, which involves a medical professional taking an X-ray of the breast, called a mammogram.

This is then studied by specialists, who will look for abnormalities that could indicate early-stage breast cancer.

While most general practitioners in Pakistan understood the utility of early detections and major risk factors, 20 per cent of those polled did not believe the international healthcare issue occurs in the Asian country, while 30 per cent said they think it is a fatal disease.

Women polled in the investigation were found to have knowledge of breast cancer's treatment, diagnosis and incidence that was proportional to their educational level.

Most females had not ever had a mammogram or clinical breast examination, although high levels of willingness to detect the illness early and address relevant health issues were seen across all demographics.

"Breast cancer care in limited-resource countries generally suffers because of multiple obstacles, including a lack of recognition of breast health as a public health priority, a shortage of trained health care workers and social or cultural barriers," co-author of the study Dr Sughra Raza said.

"Awareness and educational activities, including training female clinical health workers to perform clinical breast exams, will be beneficial," he added.

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