Monday, July 13, 2009

Breast Cancer: What can we do?

This post is dedicted to Allahyarhamah Siti Marlina Zainal (1976 - 2009) , my junior Srikandi thoroughbred 89-93. She passed on last Monday, 6th July 2009 after a brave fight against cancer. Do read her "My Surviving Years" blog. I was so touched and saddened by her heartfelt posts. She was also featured as a Winner in "My Story -Ceritaku" competition in conjunction with National Cancer Awareness & International Breast Cancer Awareness months. Read it here: I lost my breast but not everything else!

Just about everybody knows that the most common type of cancer in women is the breast cancer. Everyone would know at least one person within their circle that had passed on due to the deadly disease.

The statistics doesn't help either:
  • Breast cancer afflicts an estimated figure of more than ONE MILLION women in the world each year and it is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide, second to lung cancer.
  • For new cases of female breast cancer reported in Malaysia in 2003, 64% of these cases were women between the ages of 40 to 60 years old.
  • Early detection and getting the appropriate medical attention can help save lives. It is so unfortunate that in Malaysia, nearly 40% of new cases identified each year were already in the very advanced stages of the disease.

What I can say is that Early detection is KEY. We need to be aware of the Do's. Don't just wear the pink ribbon, you need to know what to do and you need to DO IT!

Every woman from the age of 20-39 years old should:
  • carry out BSE once a month, between the 7-10 day from the start of your period (Truth be told, I have NEVER done this in my life. I know about it,sure. I feel embarrassed when approached by the lady with the pink ribbons, that I just quickly get the DIY manual on BSE and hurried along)
  • do Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) once every three years, though there are also other recommendations to do it once yearly when you reach 30. (I am guilty too , I have NEVER done this ever!)
For ladies aged 40 and above:
  • carry out BSE once a month. For women who have reached menopause, do it on a specific date of the month
  • do CBE and mammogram once a year
We need to be breast aware - i.e. know how your breasts actually look and feel. Look for changes in breast size and shape, any pains and lumps, changes on your skin and nipple.

On another note, I feel that we would also need to participate in breast cancer awareness campaigns. I found a local community program called Passionately.You - " a woman driven campaign dedicated to women's health and to celebrate all cervical and breast cancer victims and survivors' fighting spirit. The Passionately You Duck represents HOPE for those battling cervical & breast cancer."

They organized a 2 months campaign last year called "Passionately Pink" in which pink rubber ducks , a commonly used symbol to fight breast cancer, were given a make-over by Malaysian celebrities and then auctioned off. The objective was to raise RM100,000 to fund the Breast Cancer Community Treatment Programme at Assunta Hospital.

The Passionately You roadshows aimed at telling women about breast cancer prevention and and HPV immunization campaign for young women to protect them against cervical cancer. The next roadshow would be at TESCO EXTRA Selayang on 16 - 17 July and TESCO Setia Alam, Shah Alam on 18-19 July 2009.

There's other exciting activities in store, including "All Things Women" shopping weekend scheduled sometime in August whereby a percentage of sales from designer clothing, footware and accessories will beused for women's cancer treatment. There will also be fashion shows and music entertainment in the agenda.

Another interesting activity is the Passionately YOU Quacky Run of 25km and 5km Family Fun run on October 11,2009. For more information call 603-77839509. (You could run or volunteer, either way, do call the number) Make that call and start practicing for the marathon with benefits - this would go well with my "Muffin Top" eradication program.

-dillz blogging out-


ms ngantuk said...

i just read her blog; berjurai airmata! may God bless her soul. sedih betul. her kids are so young. hilang terus rasa nothingness (towards myself); should be more bersyukur for what we have.

Along said...

I've been wanting to do a mamogram since forever but I'm scared of 1) the pain 2) the possible bad news. How?

dillazag said...

What a reminder, eh? I feel for her family.. The unsung heroes as she called them in one of her posts..

One of the many lessons I got from this was that I pun neglect to really take care of my body. With the BSE as well as the kegemukan.. I mean, it's about time I do something about it. What kind of reminder lagi that I need, kan?

dillazag said...

Mamogram saya pun takut.. But, kalau belum 40 we could wait a couple of years before we do it, right? Providedlah there's nothing suspicious. I malu to go for the CBE, but I guess just picture them as your makcik urut masa pantang, can oso.. :)

chics said...

I am so scared of cancer but I have never been to any of the check ups that you mentioned above.

Nampak sangat ignorantnya kan. Truth is, I am scared if they ever found something.

dillazag said...

that's so true..
but, don't you think it's better to know than not? i'd rather know, babe. at least you can prepare for the worst..

Anonymous said...

I lost a good college friend a couple of months ago to breast cancer 3 days before her 30th birthday. Ladies, surival is worth all the tests in the world. When they found her cancer she was 26 years old and in stage 4. Please, for her sake and all the other lives lost, have a yearly check-up and do routine self-exams.

dillazag said...

I agree with you whole-heartedly. Can't stress it more that Early Detection is KEY.

Which reminds me, I need to tape that breast self examination brochure in my toilet. :)

Anonymous said...

hi all ladies out there..

Susui lah anak anak kamu dengah breast feed.
InsyaAllah..everthing will be fine..

dillazag said...

Most of my friends breast feed their babies, but unfortunately breast cancer is not choosy of its victims. Early detection is still key..