Brunei’s breast cancer cases to grow, men also at risk

Rokiah Mahmud

About one in 16 women in Brunei Darussalam will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death among women in the world. In Brunei, 132 breast cancer cases were diagnosed in 2018. However by 2040, the cases will grow to 240.

Brunei-Muara District has the highest percentage of breast cancer patients followed by Belait, Tutong and Temburong districts. Those in the age group of 50-59 have 30 per cent higher risk than those in 40-49 age group.

These statistics were shown in an exhibition organised by the Early Detection and Cancer Prevention (EDCP) of the Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) held in conjunction with breast cancer awareness month, recently.

Apart from the exhibition, talks were held on early detection and prevention and sharing sessions.

Posters also depicted symptoms of breast cancer among men.

An exhibition on breast cancer. PHOTO: ROKIAH MAHMUD

It is estimated that one per cent of the breast cancer cases are among men. Despite the rarity, studies have shown the disease in male cases is no different than those in female cases.

The death rate among men with breast cancer is relatively lower but there is a lack of awareness among men.

Old age is one risk factor in men as breast cancer is often diagnosed in men in their 60’s. Exposure to oestrogen due to hormone therapy for prostate cancer increases the chance of breast cancer.

Another risk factor is if the men have close family members with breast cancer.

Klinefelter’s syndrome (a genetic disorder where some men produce lower levels of androgens but produce more female hormones), liver diseases and obesity could also contribute to the risk factor of breast cancer in male breast tissues. Having inflamed testicles or testicles removed surgically can also be risk factors to having breast cancer.

Physical examination by a doctor and self-examinations are sufficient in detecting breast cancer in men.