Breast Cancer Awareness: Early Detection and Prevention
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women worldwide. According to the Malaysia Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 women in the Malaysia will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. While breast cancer is a serious disease, early detection and prevention can greatly improve the chances of successful treatment. In this article, we will discuss the importance of breast cancer awareness, early detection, and prevention.
Understanding Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a disease that forms in the cells of the breast. It can occur in both men and women, but it is much more common in women. Breast cancer can form in different parts of the breast, such as the ducts that carry milk to the nipple or the glands that produce milk. Breast cancer can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, bones, liver, and lungs.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Certain factors can increase the risk of developing breast cancer, such as:
Breast cancer is more common in women than men.
The risk of breast cancer increases as you get older.
A family history of breast cancer increases the risk of developing the disease.
A previous diagnosis of breast cancer or certain types of non-cancerous breast conditions can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Hormone therapy and long-term use of oral contraceptives can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Poor diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Early detection is key to successful treatment of breast cancer. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment and survival. The Malaysia Cancer Society recommends that women at average risk of breast cancer undergo regular mammography screenings starting at age 40. Women with a higher risk of breast cancer, such as those with a family history of the disease, may need to start screening at an earlier age or undergo additional screening tests such as breast MRI.
In addition to regular screenings, women should also perform regular self-breast exams to detect any changes or abnormalities in the breast. If you notice any changes, such as a lump, swelling, or discharge from the nipple, you should consult your doctor immediately.
While there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, such as:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle:
Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, limit alcohol consumption, and quit smoking.
Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of breast cancer, especially if done for a year or more.
Limiting the use of hormone therapy for menopause can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Women with a family history of breast cancer may benefit from genetic testing to determine if they carry a gene mutation that increases their risk of developing the disease.
Women at very high risk of breast cancer may choose to undergo prophylactic surgery to remove the breast tissue before cancer can develop.
Breast cancer is a serious disease, but early detection and prevention can greatly improve the chances of successful treatment. Regular mammography screenings, self-breast exams, and a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer and detect the disease early if it does occur. Women with a higher risk of breast cancer may need additional screening tests or genetic testing. If you notice any changes in your breast, such as a lump or discharge, consult your doctor immediately. By staying informed and taking proactive steps to protect your health, you can help prevent and detect breast cancer early.