It’s October and the sight of folks wearing the pink ribbon pin is becoming common and widespread, all in the name of showing solidarity for cancer patients and survivors as well as their families during this Breast Cancer Awareness month.
According to World Health Organisation, there is no sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer; therefore, early detection of the disease remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control.
Breast cancer is the top occurring cancer in Malaysia. Statistics show that 1 in 20 Malaysian women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. The good news is that when diagnosed early, patients have a very good chance of recovering from breast cancer. Here are some key facts about breast cancer to be aware of.
1. Breast cancer is frequently thought to only affect women – but in actual fact – men can also develop it, although the incidence is much lower.
2. Only around 5% of people diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Most patients do not have a family history of the disease.
3. The biggest risk factor after being female for developing the disease is age. The majority of patients being diagnosed (over 80%) are over the age of 50. Most men who develop the disease are over 60.
4. 85% of breast cancer sufferers survive the disease beyond five years.
5. Early detection and periodical checking is key. If you are a female aged 50 and above, you should have a mammogram every three years, on top of regular self-examination.
6. If notice any changes in your breast or underarm area, they should be reported to your doctor without delay. Statistics show that Malaysian women wait an average of three months before seeing their doctor. Time is of the essence for effective treatment.
7. There are many centres that offer breast screening. The National Cancer Society of Malaysia offer packages at subsidised rates. Find out more at www.cancer.org.my
Share these facts with a friend who could benefit from awareness today and join the fight to beat cancer sooner.
With a perfect combination of charismatic beauty, grace and intelligence, Dr Andrea Lim is a firm believer in the values of hard work and dedication. Besides working in her family business, KL Sogo, the medical degree holder is also a partner in her husband’s health and fitness venture, Peak Fitness.
To get in touch with her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case you missed it: In her previous column, Dr Andrea Lim debunks 10 health myths.