“Pinktober”: Time to Spread Awareness and Hope

Over the past few decades, breast cancer in women has been considered the most commonly occurring cancer, which at times is considered life-threatening. Extensive research in the area has resulted in extraordinary progress allowing patients to undergo less harmful treatments; however, the general Pakistani population still faces an issue with awareness on the topic. Women in our society are still shy to visit healthcare facilities due to the social stigma and sensitivity regarding the subject. When diagnosed, patients suffer both physically from the treatments and financially because treating cancer can be costly.

A Growing Reality:

Pakistan has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Asia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 26,000 women in Pakistan were diagnosed with breast cancer, and over 13,500 women died of the disease, in 2020.

Cancer is a non-contagious disease that paralyzes a patient both financially and emotionally. According to recent research on our country’s demographics; one in nine women is at risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. That means nearly every home has seen a friend, sister, wife, mother, or daughter fight breast cancer. In Pakistan, women approach healthcare facilities at later stages of cancer for different reasons, such as unemployment, lack of funds, and the fear of surgery, leading to the belief in traditional treatments. Moreover, the lack of awareness stems from being not educated on how cancer starts and progresses.[Source: MMI]

Battling for the Cause:

Many known faces have narrated their personal stories of their battles with cancer, looking to inspire others, spread awareness, and generate support across communities.
Nadia Jamil, an actor, writer, storyteller, and more, has shared stories of her fight with cancer time and again, inspiring women across the country to become more aware of breast cancer, how to cope with it, and help those suffering the disease. She urges women to love their bodies and talk openly, as well as drive awareness within their families and circles.

Asma Nabeel, a renowned screenwriter, is remembered for her bravery and activism for breast cancer awareness. Asma lost her battle last year. She is loved and remembered for driving awareness about breast cancer, shedding light on societal taboos, and how “breast” is considered taboo in Pakistani society. About this taboo, she stated, “Why must we feel ashamed of our body parts, why can we not just talk about it normally?” She promoted positivity and hope to those fighting the disease, stating, “Keep your faith strong and fight it out; that is the key to success and survival.” She emphasized that our society still requires work on the awareness aspect of breast cancer, where she said, “When people are shy of talking about it, the risk of cancer increases”. [Source: Tribune]
Why is a Healthcare Cover a good idea?

Most people are unaware of the costs associated with treatment. Treatment can be very costly, at times even exceeding the total household income of a family. Having health insurance that covers unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances is worth looking into; after all, protecting oneself against risk is essential.
With over 50% of Pakistan being female, customer-centric insurance companies understand the importance of women’s health. Insurance policies are being tailored, keeping in mind the unique health and well-being requirements of females.

In Pakistan, TPL Insurance is offering Women Shield, a unique health insurance product that covers women aged between 18 to 55 years. This comprehensive healthcare coverage is for eight different women-related illnesses, including Breast cancer, Cervical cancer, Uterine or Endometrial Cancer, as well as Ovarian Cancer, and gives access to over 230 panel hospitals. Building awareness is crucial to women’s health so they get the right treatment and avoid parallel financial stresses while empowering themselves with insurance plans that provide the coverage they need.