(Image credit: Freepik)
It’s the International Women’s Day! Today, we are here to empower women to care and make informed decisions about their health.
Did you know that 1 in about 20 Malaysian women are at risk of developing breast cancer?
As reported by The Star in October 2022, “breast cancer is the most common cancer among Malaysian women, accounting for 34.1% of new cases from 2011 to 2016, followed by colorectal cancer at 11.1% and cervical cancer at 6.2%.”
Breast cancer remains one of the leading cancer deaths for Malaysian women. It is estimated that over 9 individuals die of breast cancer every day, while the number of deaths annually is estimated to be 3,500. (1)
How to detect breast cancer early
One major reason for high mortality in breast cancers is patients are more likely to come forward with late-stage diagnosis, which lowers the chance of a cure and limits access to life-saving therapies.
Mammogram screening is one of the best methods for detecting breast cancer early to increase survival chances. Unfortunately, it is estimated that only 10% of Malaysians attend regular mammogram screening. (1)
What is mammogram and how does it work?
Mammography examination uses X-ray to screen and diagnose breast diseases in women. It can often find or detect breast cancer early, when it is small and even before a lump can be felt.
Early detection prevents long-term complications. Click here to pre-purchase your mammogram package and contact our BP Healthcare outlets to make an appointment today.
BP Healthcare offers mammogram service
Besides that, it is important for us women to observe our breasts regularly and watch out for any breast changes. You are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical help if you observe any breast changes.
Check your breast once a month, 2-3 days after menses:
1. Observe your breasts in a mirror. Visually examine any changes in shape, size, or redness or scaling of skin.
2. Raise your arms and use your fingers to feel for any unusual changes, such as lumps, hardened knots, or swelling in your armpit or around your breast.
3. Check your nipples for any changes in appearance or discharge, such as blood or yellow fluid.
4. Repeat the procedure for the other breast.
(Image credit: PACE Hospitals)
Awareness on cervical cancer
Meanwhile, cervical cancer happens when cells in the cervix start to become abnormal. According to the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Information Centre on HPV and Cancer, cervical cancer ranks as the 4th most frequent cancer among women in Malaysia and the 2nd most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age. (2)
Prevention is better than cure
The risk factors of cervical cancer include early sexual activity, long-term contraceptive use, and unprotected sex. However, more than 95% of cervical cancer cases are in fact attributed to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Cervical cancer is preventable with regular screening such as Pap Smear test and HPV DNA test. Women aged 21-65 are recommended to have a pap smear test every 3 years. That way, problems can be detected earlier before they ever become cancer.
Other than that, all women are highly recommended to be vaccinated against HPV, even before becoming sexually active. Gardasil-9 (9vHPV) protects against nine HPV types (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58). A complete vaccination involves 3 injections at 0th, 2nd and 6th month, and the protection provided by HPV vaccines can last almost a lifetime.
To learn more about HPV vaccine, check out our Q&A session with Dr Choong.
In a nutshell, both breast and cervical cancer are preventable. A regular screening such as mammogram, pap smear, and HPV vaccination can help in early detection and diagnosis.
In conjunction with the International Women’s Day, we are offering a HPV Vaccination Package at only RM1,700 for 3 doses. This promotion is only available until 31 March 2023 so pre-purchase yours today!
1. The Star. (2022, October 30). One in 20 Malaysian Women at Risk of Breast Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com.my/starpicks/2022/10/30/one-in-20-malaysian-women-at-risk-of-breast-cancer.
2. Institut Català d’Oncologia. (2021). Malaysia: Human Papillomavirus and Related Cancers, Fact Sheet 2021. ICO/IARC Information Centre on HPV and Cancer. https://hpvcentre.net/statistics/reports/MYS_FS.pdf.
Stay tuned and follow us on instagram for more health information & giveaway contests.