October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while we know that it’s a terrible disease that claims too many people, how much do we know about the world’s most common form of cancer? We did our homework (with the help of the National Breast Cancer Association, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Heath Organization) to bring you Breast Cancer 101.
Breast cancer is the second-most prevalent cancer in Indonesia, making up 23 percent of all cases. One in eight women are at risk, and the disease has a 14 percent mortality rate. Breast cancer comes second to cervical cancer, which is in line with the World Health Organization’s finding that many low- and middle-income countries have the double burden of cervical and breast cancers. The good news is less women are succumbing to breast cancer thanks to early detection and better and more effective treatments. If you would like to help women in Indonesia battle breast cancer, Yayasan Kesehatan Payudara Jakarta is doing good things when it comes to awareness and support.
Know your cancer
There are three types:
Benign: safe, noncancerous and nonaggressive, doctors usually leave it alone.
Malignant: cancerous and aggressive, doctors will perform a biopsy to determine the severity and course of action.
Metastatic: the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
There are some factors we can’t change including family history, our DNA, age, race, and personal health history. But there are a number of other factors that we can control like diet, lack of exercise, and alcohol consumption.
Look for changes in how the breast and nipple feels or looks. When it comes to touch, symptoms include nipple tenderness, lumps or thickening of the breast or underarm area, and change in skin texture or pores. As for appearance, be on the look out for unexplained recent changes in the size or shape of the breast and unexplained swelling. Even if you aren’t displaying any symptoms, your doctor can check for cancer physically or with imaging tests, so make sure to get this covered at your next physical check-up (You are getting physical check-ups, aren’t you?)
Make sure you routinely do self-checks, here is a handy-dandy guide on how to do it.