| Hakim Hayat |
MANY women in Brunei Darussalam are still hesitant to come forward to seek treatment when they detect symptoms of breast cancer. Women are urged to see their doctors and have regular screenings to ensure early detection so they can receive the right treatment options.
At a press conference announcing Jerudong Park Medical Centre’s (JPMC) breast screening package in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dr Shyja Abraham Sequeira, a radiologist at the Department of Diagnostic Imaging (DDI), yesterday shared that there is still a lot of taboo and questions in the mind of women regarding this issue.
“Should I go to the doctor, keep this to myself, get traditional treatment and seek other medical options? These are some of the questions women ask whenever they have the disease of the breast. Whether it’s a very small lump or nipple discharge or anything else, they are very hesitant to come forward,” Dr Shyja said.
She added, “it is more important that you are aware that, yes, this can go wrong and if it is picked up early, the woman stands a chance at getting better treatment options.”
JPMC Marketing Executive, Aini Zulfa binti Hj Asbinin, shared that they are offering a package deal at a special price that will run from October 20 to November 14 and can be redeemed by December 30.
JPMC said the aim of a screening using the latest detection technology is to detect cancer at an early stage, where the hospital can offer treatment options and control the spread of the tumour.
“During the mammography procedure, most women think the process is painful. There will be a little discomfort as the breast will be compressed between two plates, which are done to flatten and spread the breast tissue. It gives optimal compression to the breasts without causing excess pain to the patient. Each session of the four x-rays lasts for a few seconds.
“Statistics show the number of breast cancer cases in Brunei are quite high and patients suffer more as the disease spreads, causing disabilities. “If we detect it at the early stage, it will limit the suffering of the patients as well as family members. This breast screening programme not only detects cancer at an early stage but also educates the public”.
Dr Shyja said that chances that an abnormality is cancer as perhaps only one out of a thousand persons screened will be cancer positive. “Risks of having breast cancer rises if you have a close blood relative such as a mother or sister with breast cancer developing before the age of 50.”
She urged women to have a breast screening once every two years. “For ages 40 to 49 years, breast screening should be done once a year. Ages 50 to 69 years should have it done once every two years”, she said. The screening package entitles a patient to one doctor’s consultation and mammography. While waiting for the medical results, patient will be given a complimentary breast self-examination lesson, which is excluded from the normal price.
Aini Zulfa said they are pleased to hold the promotion to draw women’s attention to the importance of breast screening.
“We advise women to practice self-examination at home monthly and report any suspicious abnormality like a lump or nipple discharge to their doctor even if they have had a recent normal mammogram,” she added.
Women must be 40 to 69 years old to be entitled for the screening package as this is the age range where most abnormalities are detected. If patient had a mammogram less than a year back, they are not advised to take up the screening at this juncture.
Physically disabled women can undergo the screening as the machine used also caters for immobilised persons if they are able to sit on a wheelchair with extra effort but the screening cannot be done for bed-ridden patients.
Patients are required to set up a pre-appointment by contacting the DDI at JPMC.
The DDI is one of the most modern imaging departments in Southeast Asia. They offer a comprehensive range of services such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Multi Slice CT Scanner, Digital Dental Imaging and CR Radiography.