October is the month of Breast Cancer Awareness and this disease is the most common type of cancer that affects women worldwide. Since 2018, the number of women affected by this form of cancer has increased significantly. Statistics have shown that there are higher rates of breast cancer cases in developed countries compared to developing countries. The awareness of breast cancer is important due to the increased rate of breast cancer victims worldwide. By increasing awareness, people will be able to stand up and take notice of the dangers of undetected breast cancer. Creating awareness about breast cancer among people can help save lives. The most important step is to go for breast checkup, also known as mammograms, regularly. Early detection increases the chance of beating cancer.
Breast Cancer in Malaysia
In Malaysia, it is stated that almost half of the breast cancer patients are below 50 years old. It is estimated that one in 20 women in their lifetime will develop breast cancer in Malaysia. Currently, the survival rate is lower than 80%. There is a serious lack of information and awareness among women to take precautions by going for early breast checkup. Most women have admitted to not understanding the fatality and gravity of breast cancer.
According to Cancer Research Malaysia, most women opt for self-examination of breasts. Unfortunately, about 19% of women were found to be already at stage 4 by the time they went for a breast screening. While cancer is one of the major causes of morbidities and mortalities in Malaysia, breast cancer patients can also suffer from common psychiatric occurrences, such as depression and anxiety.
The Breast Cancer Foundation Malaysia, Majlis Kanser Nasional (MAKNA), and the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM) aim to increase awareness by educating the public about the seriousness of breast cancer. These non-profit cancer organisations also offer support to breast cancer survivors in Malaysia.
Breast Cancer in Singapore
Breast cancer was the most common cancer affecting women between 2011 and 2015. It is the leading cause of death among female cancer patients. According to The Breast Cancer Foundation, there is still a lack of awareness among women about the dangers of breast cancer. Most women don’t bother to undergo breast examinations.
The survival rate of breast cancer in Singapore stands at 80%. According to oncologists in Singapore, the risk of breast cancer increases with age and there is a high incidence in women between 55 and 59 years old. Women below 40 are advised to conduct regular self-examinations while for those over 40, it is better to go for an annual mammogram.
The Health Promotion Board in Singapore highlights the importance and awareness of going for an early breast screening with the introduction of the national breast cancer screening programme, BreastScreen Singapore (BSS). The Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) multi-service centre offers Singaporean women, who are 50 years old and above, free breast-cancer screenings.
Breast Cancer Detection through Mammogram
A mammogram can be a lifesaving procedure for many female patients, as it is able to show cancerous growths in the breast. This invaluable tool for early breast cancer detection is a fast procedure that takes around 20 minutes. Patients might feel a little discomfort with a slight touch of pain, but the procedure itself is deemed to be safe.
Common Breast Problems
With the environment that we live in and the food that we eat, our bodies generate reactions that are based on these factors. Some of these bodily reactions come in the form of lumps around the breast that hurt upon touching. If upon checking doctors find that it is a benign condition, the lump can be surgically removed.
Infected breast tissue is another common breast problem among women, who are nursing that occurs when the milk ducts get clogged. It can also happen due to the penetration of bacteria through a cracked nipple. Also known as mastitis, the common signs are fever, tender or swollen breasts, red patch of skin and possible pain or burning during breastfeeding.
Skin issues and disorders on the breast form part of the many non-cancerous conditions that affect the breast. A rash or redness on the breast might be a result of:
- Paget’s disease
To be safe, always opt to go for a medical checkup instead of relying on a self-examination of your breasts. Early detection of any breast illness will enable you to get the right treatment needed to help with the situation.
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