Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting women in Malaysia. About one in 19 women in this country are at risk, compared to one in eight in Europe and the United States.
Breast cancer occurs when the cells in the lobules (milk producing glands) or the ducts become abnormal and divide uncontrollably. These abnormal cells begin to invade the surrounding breast tissue and may eventually spread via blood vessels and lymphatic channels to the lymph nodes, lungs, bones, brain and liver.
Some statistics for you to digest:
- Did you know that breast cancer afflicts an estimated figure of more than ONE MILLION women in the world each year and is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide, second to lung cancer?
- Did you know that of the ONE MILLION afflicted women, almost 45% of those women live in developing countries?
- Did you know that of the new cases of female breast cancer reported in Malaysia in 2003, 64% of these cases were women between the ages of 40 to 60 years old?
- Did you know that Chinese women seemed to be at greatest risk, with an incidence of 59.7 per 100,000; followed by Indian women (55.8 per 100,000) and Malay women (33.9 per 100,000)?
- Did you know that early detection and getting appropriate medical attention can help save lives? So it is unfortunate in Malaysia that nearly 40% of the new cases identified each year were already in the very advanced stages of the disease.
As with most cancers, the earlier breast cancer is detected and diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment. One of the best ways of ensuring that breast cancer is for you to be breast aware, that is understanding and knowing how your breast look and feel like under normal circumstances, so that you are able to seek early medical advice if there are any changes in either breast.
Find out as much as you can about the subject so you can make an informed choice about your treatment options. Do not be afraid to ask questions from medical practitioners. Be positive and lead a normal life after breast cancer treatment. Take good care of your mind, body and soul.
Source: National Cancer Registry 2003