October is an official month of breast cancer awareness. Breast cancer is one of the most feared cancer for women. It can happen to anybody at any age. However, it is more common among women compared to men. Breast cancer in men are rare but it is not impossible. Women should extra take care of their health as most cancer that kill is breast cancer.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a disease where malignant cells located at tissues of the breast. There are few types of breast cancer, either non-invasive or invasive, both type of breast cancer should be treated accordingly.

Screening and diagnostic for breast cancer

Mammogram is a screening and diagnostic tool for early detection of breast cancer (RadiologyInfo,2017). Mammogram screening is recommended for women who age 40 years old and above. However, for young people who have family history are advisable to go for mammogram screening at early age annually.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

1 out of 19 women in Malaysia can be diagnosed with cancer. However, aware on early signs of breast cancer could prevent you from the diseases spread to other places.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may vary. Look up for any changes at your breast like stated below and see doctor as soon as possible.

  • Redness or heat
  • Hidden lump
  • Thick mass
  • Indentation
  • Dimpling
  • Retracted nipple
  • Lump
  • Growing vein
  • New shape/change size
  • New fluid
  • Skin erosion
  • Orange peel skin
  • Mostly, early detection of breast cancer can be cured if treated well.

    Prevention of breast cancer

  • Less Smoking

  • Smoking has a very close link with various cancer including breast cancer. Recent research shown that mortality of breast cancer patients in women is high and potentially has high chance to die early due to breast cancer (GS, 2017). It is always the best for quitting smoking when you have been diagnosed to diseases especially cancer. Content in the cigarettes may worsen the current diseases and the worst scenario would be it will cause other complications.

  • Be active

  • Involving in physical activity has many benefits including lowering risk of breast cancer. By doing regular exercise at least 30 minutes per day, evidence said it helps in maintaining healthy weight, regulating hormones and keeping a good immune system (ACS,2018). Researchers said it doesn't matter either pre-menopausal or post-menopausal women, both of them should engaged in physical activity as much as they can to decrease the risk (Breastcancer,2014).

  • Consume soy bean or soy bean-based food

  • By consuming soy bean milk or soy bean-based foods like tofu, tempeh could reduce the risk of getting breast cancer approximately 80% and 60% respectively. Soy contains isoflavones (phytoestrogen) that acts similarly to oestrogen, which helps in reducing risk of breast cancer (WebMD,2018). Research shown that people who eat more soy milk or soy-based foods are less likely to die early compared to the one who eat the least (NBC,2017).

  • Committed on breastfeeding for more 12 months

  • Exclusive 6 months of breast feeding is recommended by World Health Organization because of the benefits (MNT,2017). Breast feeding up to 12 months is said help to reduce the risk of breast cancer as lactation lower the production of oestrogen (Breastcancer, 2018). Based on a research, about 70% of breast cancer can be prevented for women who breastfed their child for more than 12 months.