REGULAR check-ups and early detection of breast cancer can increase the chance of patient’s survival, said a specialist from Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) during a talk yesterday.
Dr Chitra Karat, Consultant and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at JPMC, in her talk entitled ‘The Best Protection Is Early Detection’ said early stage breast cancer is survivable for many and not a death sentence.
“Getting regular check-ups increases one’s survival rate tremendously,” she stressed to the audience.
The talk was organised by eBunda, a corporate social responsibility programme run by BAG Networks in hopes to spread awareness of the second leading cause of cancer death amongst women in Brunei.
Dr Chitra explained that if the cancer is diagnosed late, treatment are less likely to succeed and reduces their chances of survival.
“Once the breast cancer has spread, it is often harder to treat (the cancer) successfully, meaning that a person’s chances of surviving (it) are much lower,” noted the specialist.
The specialist added that people are most likely to delay in seeking help out of fear of pain.
“Fear often plays a part in delaying the patient from getting the help they need. This is something that is natural to feel but I cannot stress enough that prevention is indeed always better than cure,” said Dr Chitra.
According to statistics from the Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC), a total of 724 Bruneians were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2005 to 2014.
Dr Chitra also highlighted that one in eight persons are likely to get breast cancer, noting that women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer.
Some of the factors include having a family history of breast cancer and an unhealthy lifestyle.
“Those that have later menopause, are obese with a body mass index of over 30, drink alcohol (and) smoke (have a higher risk of) breast cancer,” said the specialist.
However, Dr Chitra also noted that while it is rare for teenagers to develop breast cancer, there was a case where a 19-year-old Bruneian was diagnosed with the deadly disease.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of screening tests. It should be done before problems come,” she urged.
Meanwhile, a breast cancer survivor, Haslina binti Hj Mohd Taib, also shared her journey in battling cancer.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, Haslina was in the shower when she made the alarming discovery that saved her life.
Upon the revelation, she underwent a procedure to remove the lump but had a recurrence three years later, just a few months after her husband passed away from brain cancer.
“What keeps me going is having my children, my family and BAG Networks,” she said.
“There’s no real research that actually points out that it’s your diet or lifestyle or some sort of inheritance; there’s no real evidence. Sometimes (cancer) just appears because you’re unlucky, like me. Unlucky because my husband passed away because of (cancer). Unlucky because I’ve had (cancer) twice,” she added.
“But you know it’s not about how it hits you, it’s about how you handle it,” she told the audience. “Your life is not going to end just because you have breast cancer.”
New Brunei Daily
Bandar Seri Begawan
Wednesday, 25 October 2017