Did you know that the most common cancer among women in Malaysia is breast cancer?
First of all, what is Breast Cancer?
Cancer is an uncontrolled cell growth that damages healthy tissue, forming a lump known as a tumor. When this occurs in the breast, it’s called breast cancer, a malignant growth originating in breast tissues.
Breast Cancer is a significant health concern in Malaysia, affecting approximately 1 in 19 women. This article sheds light on the importance of early detection in saving lives.
Survival Rates: Early-stage breast cancer (Stage 1 and 2) boasts a 75% survival rate, emphasizing the critical role of timely detection. Conversely, advanced-stage breast cancer (Stage 3 and 4) has a much lower 37% survival rate, highlighting the importance of catching the disease early.
Common Diagnosis: Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in Malaysia, accounting for 34.1% of all cancer cases in the female population.
What can you do for early detection?
Breast Cancer Screening in Malaysia for Early Detection
Mammogram – This test is for women who are at risk and present symptoms of the disease.
Breast Self-Examination (BSE) – Women should do a breast exam routine from age 20. If a lump is detected, see a doctor immediately.
Biopsy – Tissue from the suspected area is taken and tested in a lab.
Common symptoms of breast cancer
- Lumps or thickening
- Changes in size or shape
- Fluid discharge from the nipple
- Pain or tenderness
Causes of breast cancer
- Age – The risk increases for women over 50.
- Family History – Women with a history of breast cancer, the risk is higher.
- Menstrual cycle – Women who started menstruating at a young age are at a higher risk.
- Genetics – If a family member has or had breast cancer, the risk is higher.
Lifestyle changes to help prevent breast cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet – Focus on diet which is full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Reduce intake on processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-fat foods. Hence maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise can help reduce your risk.
- Exercise regularly – Regular physical activity, such as jogging or swimming can lower the risk of breast cancer.
- Limit alcohol consumption – Women who consume alcohol have a higher risk of breast cancer. Try to limit your alcohol daily intake to one drink per day or less.
- Breastfeeding – If you have the opportunity and choice, it is best to breastfeed as it may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Breastfeeding can also offer various health benefits for both the mother and the child.
- Genetic Counseling – If you have a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, you may consider getting genetic counseling and testing to access personal risk. Knowing your risk can help you be informed about preventions and screening.
Breast cancer poses a significant threat to women in Malaysia, but early detection can substantially improve survival rates. It’s crucial for women to be proactive in their breast health, undergo regular screenings, and stay informed about the risks and benefits of early detection.