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Abstract

This study offers insights into the barriers experienced by Breast Cancer (BC) patients from less privileged rural areas of Pakistan. We conducted in-depth interviews with 42 BC survivors, from the northern Sindh in southern Pakistan, to explore and analyse knowledge, geographical and financial barriers and how these barriers intersect and complicate BC patients’ lives. Results indicate that most of the women in this study were poor and their families’ health seeking behaviour was influenced by their socio-economic background; their knowledge about the disease was limited and they were unable to appropriately assess the symptoms for months, which caused delay. Based on the results, we underscore the need for increasing health education as who had a sound academic background, awareness about health as well as better social standing, accessed the treatment facility in time, approached quality healthcare services and were in a better position to cope with the aftermath of cancer. Extending the fold of quality healthcare services to less privileged areas and enabling women easy and inexpensive access to healthcare services will help in early diagnosis when treatment is affordable and chances of survival are better.

Note on the Author

Dr. Nadia Agha is Associate Professor in Sociology at Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, Pakistan. She has a PhD in Women’s Studies from University of York, England. Her main interest remains in the field of Sociology, Gender, Family and Kinship. She has written several journalistic articles in national newspapers on women’s issues such as breast cancer, early marriages, women’s inclusion in paid work and child mortality in Pakistan. Her recent work has been published in Health Education, Asian Journal of Social Science and Journal of Research in Gender Studies. She tweets @AghaNadia

Dr. Maliha Gull Tarar is working as lecturer and M.Phil program coordinator in Social Work Department, University of Sargodha. She has research interests in Gender-power relations, violence, representation and protection, feminization of poverty and aging. She has been teaching Gender & Development, Social Welfare Administration, Community Development and Organization, School Social Work and Social Work Theory & Practice. Moreover, she is working as Director Student’s Affairs, Department of Social Work and also supervising field trainings.

Rahim Dad Rind has done M.Phil in Sociology from Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur. Pakistan with special focus on girls’ education. His research interest is in the field of gender and education as he himself belongs to a rural area in Sindh where women’s educational levels are very low and they are subjected to everyday violence.

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