ISLAMABAD - To reinvigorate the breast cancer awareness campaign, the Ministry of Health is considering to reinitiate the National Breast Cancer Screening Project, which was earlier shelved owing to the lack of political will on the part of the authorities concerned. The project started in the year 2006 hit snags despite availability of the required amount, as in the absence of an able experienced programme manager the Ministry failed to properly implement the programme. The PC- 1 of this programme, worth Rs 400 million, was prepared and in the first year Rs 100 million were allocated for the said programme. Ironically, in the past, despite allocation of the considerable amount the Ministry failed to utilise the money, which was due to the Ministrys failure to appoint a national programme manager or programme director who could run it on war footing. Recently, the Ministry has appointed Dr Zafar-ul-Haq Lodhi as programme manager of this project. In the presence of a head, it is being anticipated that the programme would manage to achieve its desired targets in an effective manner. Dr Lodhi had served the Ministry in different capacities and before assuming the charge as head of this project, he was working as deputy director international health. At a time when breast cancer has become one of the fastest growing national health concerns, in the country, the programme appeared to be a ray of hope for hundreds of thousands of women suffering from this disease. Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer for any Asian population as every year 83,000 women are diagnosed and 40,000 women killed by this disease because very little information is available in Pakistan and only cases at a very advanced stage are reported. With early diagnosis, a patients chance of surviving breast cancer is higher than 90 percent. According to the health experts, in Pakistan 75 percent of breast cancer patients may die in five years if no treatment is given to them and rest of the 25 percent would die in the next five years. The treatment of this disease in Pakistan ranged from no treatment to quick mutilate resection - making breast cancer a major cause of morbidity and mortality among women in the country. Five public sector hospitals of the five major cities including, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar, were selected to get the state-of-the-art facilities of screening and diagnostics facilities According to a Ministry official, the programme had two major components including, Screening and diagnostic. Mobile units were another important feature of this programme. These units were meant to reach women living in rural areas for mammography, as health experts believe that screening gives positive survival chances to thousands of women by detecting breast caner in the earliest possible stage. The idea behind establishing these centres within the public sector hospitals was to ensure that patients do not face problems, because if a separate hospital was established then every female that would go for screening would be considered a cancer patient, the official further maintained. It is worth mentioning here that breast cancer is the only easily detectable cancer in its initial stages and has various treatment options. Due to social and cultural constraints, breast cancer always remained neglected in Pakistan at all levels and the said programme was launched in order to address these concerns.