Women told to check early for breast cancer

The Bali Pink Ribbon Foundation on Tuesday held a seminar in an effort to raise awareness and encourage citizens to take action to catch breast cancer early. The majority of breast cancer cases occurred in women, although some men did develop the disease, and attacked people between the ages of 40 and 50 years, said Putu Dian Ekawati of Prima Medika Hospital. “But everyone has to remain cautious as breast cancer has been found in 18-year-old girls,” she said during the seminar held at Bali Pink Ribbon House on Jl. Dewi Sri IV, Kuta.

“Let’s be more alert to the signs of breast cancer and spread the word to others. Detecting cancer early is best,” Dian said. Dian said that many were either ashamed, lacked funds and knowledge, or were scared to be diagnosed with cancer, all of which prevented them from performing checkups. According to the World Cancer Report 2008 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, breast cancer accounted for 22.9 percent of all cancers in women. That year, breast cancer caused more than 458,000 fatalities worldwide, or around 13.7 percent of cancer deaths in women.

Dian said no medical research had identified the exact cause of breast cancer. However, contributing factors that increased the risk included delivering a first child after the age of 35, starting menstruation before 12 years old, as well as hereditary factors. Therefore, Dian called on women to perform the necessary checks to detect the cancer earlier. “Do a self-check at home, is there a lump in your breast? Do a mammogram and USG [ultrasonography] once a year,” Dian said. Mammography is a low-radiation x-ray test to detect early breast cancer.

“Not all lumps are dangerous, but you have to make sure before it’s too late,” Dian said. Dian recommended reducing the risk of breast cancer by avoiding risk factors. “Quitting smoking and reducing the consumption of alcohol and greasy food are among them,” she said. Through the community’s awareness and education programs, founder Gaye Warren said her side aimed to reach out to all levels of society. “By doing so, we believe that more people will not only become aware of breast cancer, but also become our partners in raising awareness,” said Warren, who is also a breast cancer survivor.

To increase the members’ knowledge on the matter, Warren said she had established cooperation with the Royal Darwin Hospital in Australia to train eight of the Bali Pink Ribbon team (four activists and four doctors) in February, to enable them to later spread the word to women in Bali. Warren went on saying that the central government must disseminate information about the newly launched national health insurance (JKN) properly to assist those who lacked funds. Three breast cancer patients are currently under the support of the foundation.

Despite having pledged to provide funds for cancer patients on the island, Warren said Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika had yet to prove his words. The three are currently uncertainly waiting for the provincial administration to provide money for their chemotherapy and surgery, which will amount to around Rp 350 million (US$28,700). Warren said a patient should undergo at least six chemotherapy sessions, which cost around Rp 12 million per person per session. Dian said the JKN scheme actually covered all types of cancer, however the program was not yet fully running.

In the seminar, a breast cancer survivor, Cok Istri Dewi Purwani, 44, said that many people were still neglecting their care. “Either they don’t want to know about it or they don’t care,” she said. Cok was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in early 2012 and had the cancer removed in May. However, in October last year, she was again diagnosed, saying, “the cancer had spread to other cells”. Bali Pink Ribbon is a charity organization dedicated to raising breast cancer awareness and funding for breast cancer research.

source : bali daily

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