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Breast Cancer, ‘The Silent Killer’ Of Afghan Women

Each year over 20,000 people are affected by cancer in Afghanistan out of which over 3000 cases are breast cancer

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Omid Sobhani
Omid Sobhani
I am Omid Sobhani, Journalism Undergraduate student at Herat University, Western Afghanistan. I love to cover social, political, entertainment stories from Afghanistan.

AFGHANISTAN. Herat: In 2020, the Afghan Health ministry had recorded around 23 thousand cancer patients. Out of which around 13 thousand were women and 10 thousand men. The Afghan health officials reported that around 16,000 patients died of cancer last year. According to Afghanistan Health Ministry, gastric cancer, cancer caused by lipstick, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, are among the widespread cancer diseases in Afghanistan. 

Talking about the deadly disease, Deputy of the Health Ministry, Dr. Bashir Noormal, said, “After heart diseases, cancer is the most lethal death.”

20 percent increase in breast cancer cases

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Each year over 20,000 people are affected by cancer in Afghanistan out of which over 3000 cases are of breast cancer. The Herat health department has reported that breast cancer has increased by 20 percent over the years.

Farzana Rasoli, a women expert, at the Mammography unit of Herat hospital said that they had recorded around 64 cases of breast cancer in 2019. However, in 2020, the cases have elevated to 84.

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Officials at the Herat hospital has said that the lack of awareness is a part of the issue. Due to this, many Afghan women find out about their diseases after breast cancer has reached a deadly stage.

Read Also: World Cancer Day: Warning Signs Women Shouldn’t Ignore

Lack of awareness

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Farishta Fazli, a staff of the National Program for Cancer Control of Herat Health Department said that due to the lack of awareness maximum women ignore the symptoms and the diagnosis is often delayed.

“All women, in any age, must refer to doctor as soon as they find a tiny swell on their breast.”

Meanwhile, Hadila Kabiri, a professor at the Journalism faculty of Herat University made a research survey of over 754 women in Herat. Based on the findings of this research 3.3 percent of Afghan women had some information about breast cancer. 

Mrs. Kabiri believes that there have been no specific resources or a strong policy to combat breast cancer. 

Afghanistan health department has reported that there are now two centers of diagnosis for breast cancer in Kabul and Herat. The ministry is also trying to establish more centers to improve the informative methods for women about the dangers and ways to prevent breast cancer. 

“We have ultrasound system and cytology used only for diagnosis but for the treatment, we don’t have that much facility and rich families can travel abroad for treatment,” Farzana Rasoli said. 

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