The Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in countries across the world every October, helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection, and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease.
More than 60 per cent of breast cancer patients in Brunei are diagnosed at the late stage when the cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes or other organs. A recent study conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) showed that patients’ five-year survival rate dropped from 92 per cent in early-stage breast cancer to 21 per cent in advanced stage cancer. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in Brunei, with 100 new cases recorded each year between 2009 and 2018.
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month taking place in October, the Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) held a breast cancer awareness talk for the Welfare Body of Police’s Wives and Families (PEKERTI). More than 60 members attended the event at JPMC’s Lecture Theatre, RF level.
In a welcoming remark, Chief Operating Officer of JPMC Zauyah binti Md Tarmizi said, “Today is an opportunity for us to raise an awareness on the health impact of breast cancer and the importance of taking personal responsibility for health.
“When cancer is found in the final stages, where it has spread to other organs, then treatment is not as easy as expected and will take longer. Early screening and intervention is the best option.”
The invited speaker, JPMC Consultant of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Dr Siti Khadijah binti Ismail highlighted the importance of early detection by performing regular breast self-examinations (BSE), and/or via diagnostic breast imaging such as mammogram and/or ultrasound. She also emphasises on the impact of lifestyle modification for reducing risk of breast cancer.
“Breast self-examination is an important, simple and cost-free way to take control of your health. By knowing how your breasts normally look and feel, you can detect changes in them and take action without waiting for your doctor’s appointment or mammogram or ultrasound screening,” said Dr Siti Khadijah.
“Early detection will give women better treatment options and higher chance of survival. Risks can be further reduced by adopting a healthy lifestyle that incorporates plenty of exercise and a balanced diet,” she added.
Spouse of the Deputy Commissioner of Police Datin Hajah Siti Shamsiah binti Haji Abdul Samad in her capacity as Chairperson of PEKERTI also presented a token of appreciation to JPMC.
In conjunction with the Breast Cancer Awareness celebrated every October, JPMC’s Department of Diagnostic Imaging (DDI) will be offering a breast screening promotion for women of all ages from October 1 until October 31.
The DDI is open from Monday to Thursday from 8am-4pm, Friday from 8am-5pm (12pm-2pm closed). On Saturday, the clinic is open from 8am-noon only.