October 2016: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Bangladesh still has a high death rate from breast cancer, with figures stating over 7,000 deaths 22,000 affected every year, according to newshub Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS).

The reasons behind high number of deaths are mainly rooted in the lack of breast cancer awareness among rural girls and women, lack of motivation for self-screening or regular screening at hospitals, inadequate facilities in the existing health system, and non-completion of full treatment course.

An effective breast cancer management should be done under a broad perspective that starts from awareness creation among general populations to infusing self-motivation for screening, while offering appropriate diagnosis and treatment facilities in an affordable cost. Doctors from public and private hospitals at local levels should be trained on the prevention of breast cancer to improve the situation.

There are many risk factors that increase the chance of developing breast cancer, but the reasons are still unknown as to how some of these factors cause cells to become cancerous. Sometimes normal breast cells become cancerous because of mutated DNA. This is usually inherited and can exponentially increase the risk of certain types of cancer. However, most of these changes in DNA are usually acquired during a woman’s life, and less when inherited. It is widely believed that breast cancer only happens in developing countries but studies show otherwise. Breast cancer rates are much higher in developed nations where women are the most affected by this disease.
As the month of awareness is here, community leaders, doctors, and more importantly women should do whatever they can to spread the message and help bring down the staggering numbers of breast cancer.

The Bangladesh Cancer Society and The National Cancer Institute runs awareness programs regularly throughout the year. As the stats show the risk of breast cancer, it’s paramount for women to keep their health in check and visit the doctors should they feel the symptoms. The symptoms to keep in mind are swelling in the breast, a nipple discharge that isn’t breast milk, lump near the underarms and skin dimpling. Better to be safe than sorry!


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