This CHB Health Bulletin is specifically for the women in our community to bring about awareness for a regular check-up for Symptoms and Early Detection of Breast Cancer. Appropriate treatment is available when it is done at an early stage; i.e. immediately when it is detected or when one is in doubt.
What is breast cancer?
It is a type of tumor that grows in the cells and structures of the glands of the breast tissue. Breast Cancer Org lists 14 types of breast cancer. However, the two most common are:
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma, where cancer cells multiply outside the ducts and invade other parts of the breast tissue. These invasive cancer cells can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.
- Infiltrating lobular carcinoma, where cancer cells spread from the lobules to nearby breast tissues. These invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.
Eight warning signs to look out for:
- A new lump in the breast or armpit.
- Increased thickness or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or sagging of the skin of the breast.
- Redness or peeling in the nipple or breast area.
- Sagging of the nipple or pain in that area.
- Nipple discharge, other than milk and even blood.
- Any change in the size or shape of the breast.
- Pain in any part of the breast.
There are numerous risks factors that influence the development of breast cancer. Some of them can be externally influenced and others cannot.
Risk factors that do not change:
- Aging increases the risk of developing breast cancer. Most cases are diagnosed on women in their 50s.
- Women with genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 have a higher risk of developing breast and ovary cancer.
- An early start to menstruation (around 12 years old) and a late menopause manifestation (after 55 years old) exposes women to hormones for longer periods, which increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Dense breasts have more connective tissue than fat, which can sometimes difficult detecting tumors through a mammogram.
- Personal or family history of breast cancer.
- Previous exposure to radiation.
External risk factors:
- Inactive lifestyles.
- Being overweight or having obesity after menopause.
- Consumption of hormones or therapy for hormonal replacement, especially during menopause.
- Some oral contraceptives.
- Reproductive background that implied pregnancies after the age of 30, no breast feeding and never having a full-term pregnancy can increase the risk.
Women can do a breast self-exam (Refer to the Chart below). This will help to detect any lump on your breasts or notice redness or discolorations. Going to the gynecologist for a mammography or echography is just as important.
Preventive Healthcare is far better to prevent diseases than to treat people after they get sick. Besides high cost factors, the sufferings of one self and the family is huge.
Women’s are advised to watch this video clip.
The Central Health Board (CHB) of Africa Federation would urge all constituent Jamaats of Africa Federation to liaise with the AFED Women Board to organize jointly the Health Awareness Programs for the women in our Community as soon as possible, covering for the following:
- Lecture Programs by a lady Health Professional/Gynecologist.
- Arrange for Demonstrations using modules and video clips.
- Arrange with the local clinics or hospitals for proper screening whereby Mammography and Pap Smear test can also be carried out at a reasonable cost.
- A follow-up system should be in place whereby this becomes a regular process and not a kind of one off program.
Jamaats who may require support from Africa Federation should liaise with the CHB Chairman at the earliest possible.
CHB – YOUR HEALTH IS OUR PRIORITY
CENTRAL HEALTH BOARD OF AFRICA (CHB)
Date: 4th January 2022