Unlike in the West, women here fall victim at much younger age
Tutong - When it comes to breast cancer, Brunei Darussalam is very different from Western countries as well as in the region.
In the Sultanate, breast cancer is usually diagnosed in women between the ages of 40 and 49, unlike other countries, where it is usually diagnosed in women who are in their 60s.
This was revealed by Associate Professor Dr Hj Muhammad Syafiq bin Abdullah, Consultant Oncologist from the Ministry of Health, who was speaking at a breast cancer awareness talk at the Seri Kenangan Hall of the Tutong Civic Centre yesterday.
According to him, the notion that breast cancer only afflicts women in post-menopause (old age) is a misconception, as the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer are women in pre-menopause and that around 20 per cent of women diagnosed were of childbearing age, the youngest being 18 years old.
Associate Professor Dr Hj Muhammad Syafiq said that everyone needs to be aware of this misconception.
This is why one needs to undergo frequent checkups because breast cancer may strike at any age, he said, noting that breast cancer is among the top five types of cancer in Brunei between 2007 and 2010.
Citing statistics of breast cancer cases between 2007 and 2011, Dr Hjh Shodeena binti Hj Mohamad, Senior Medical Officer of Health Division, Tutong District Department of Health, said that efforts to promote awareness of the cause factors of cancer needed to be stepped up even though the number of cases had gone down from 46 in 2007 to 17 in 2011 (up to September that year).
According to her, breast cancer is among the leading causes of death among women in the world, including Brunei.
Yesterday's talk also featured a presentation by a former breast cancer patient who is now the President of the Brunei Darussalam Breast Cancer Support Group, Dyg Masjuwita binti Abd Hamid.
The objective of the breast cancer awareness programme was to enhance awareness among women on breast cancer and its causes and on effective ways of preventing it, for example, self-examining frequently as recommended by the World Health Organization.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin