| Rokiah Mahmud |
CANCER is the leading cause of death among women in Brunei Darussalam. This includes breast cancer and the number of fatalities has been increasing year after year. In 2009, there were eight deaths due to this illness and the figure continue to rise, and in 2013 it reached 20. Although the main factor that contributes to this deadly illness has yet to be identified, continuous researches have been conducted locally and globally.
The matter was highlighted by the Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Dr Hajah Rahmah binti Haji Mohd Said, during the official launching of the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign that took place yesterday at the Atrium of The Mall, Gadong.
She said most women who are being diagnosed with breast cancer are those under 40 years old and they are considered as the most economically productive age group which provides significant human resources for the country.
Most of them are married and have become mothers. The cancer not only affects their lives but also their circle of families and friends. In 2009, there were 55 cases recorded while in 2010 the number increased to 81 cases, the acting permanent secretary said.
“Among the factors leading to breast cancer include ageing, family history of having breast cancer, having first menstruation before the age of 12, having no children or having the first child after the age of 30, not breastfeeding their child, obesity and high-fat diet and not practising a healthy lifestyle,” she added.
“To further understand the pattern and nature of breast cancer among the locals, a collaboration effort between the PAPRSB Institute of Health Sciences, UBD, Ministry of Health and The Brunei Cancer Centre has been made on several research projects through the Global Health Research Cluster.
“Prevention is the main key to control the breast cancer in the country and one of the most cost-effective measures is by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
“Aside from doing breast self- examination, women are also advised to adopt a balanced diet, do physical activities, avoid smoking or being exposed to cigarette smoke, and breastfeed their child,” said the acting permanent secretary.
She concluded by advising women who are 38 years old and above to do health screening and seek doctor’s advice by visiting the nearest clinics.