In recent decades, the lifestyle of Malaysians has changed. Lack of physical activities, low fruit and vegetable intake, tobacco and alcohol use, inadequate sleep duration, and obesity will all increase an individual’s risk of developing cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. One in every 19 Malaysian women has a chance of getting breast cancer. Breast cancer is also the leading cause of death for Malaysian women with cancer.
In 2020, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 2.3 million new breast cancer cases were diagnosed, and 700,000 people died because of breast cancer worldwide. In the same year, there were 8,418 new breast cancer cases and 3,505 breast cancer deaths in Malaysia.
Overall, Malaysia’s breast cancer five-year survival rate is 66.8 per cent, which is much lower than the rates reported from other Asian countries such as Singapore (79.0 per cent), South Korea (92.6 per cent), and Japan (96.2 per cent).
The Malaysia National Cancer Report, published in 2019, reported that almost half (47.9 per cent) of breast cancer cases were detected at a late stage (Three and Four), higher than the previous report in 2015, which was 43.2 per cent. The five-year survival rate for Stage One breast cancer is 87.5 per cent, followed by Stage Two at 80.7 per cent, Stage Three at 59.7 per cent, and Stage Four at just 23.3 per cent.
If breast cancer is detected earlier, it has a better chance of being treated successfully. Early breast examination and mammography detection can prevent a diagnosis of advanced breast cancer.
In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, there is a global campaign to increase public awareness of breast cancer prevention and encourage early detection.
Remind your loved ones to practise monthly breast self-examination and go for regular mammogram screenings.
Early detection and early treatment can help to save her life!
Dr Soh Yih Harng and Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming are from the Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence-Based Practice, Department of Social Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.