Breast cancer in Malaysia needed to be exposed more to society. Sometimes it feels like a taboo topic to be spoken about in public. Usually, when it comes to October, we would associate it with the Halloween celebration. Well, now let’s make a bit of a change in that and add that October is also breast cancer awareness month. The National Breast Cancer Foundation has announced this year’s theme as ‘Together We Rise’. The theme is to rise together with all women that are and were affected by cancer and give them undying support. This theme also highlights the importance for all women to get the screening that they needed and the power of spreading cancer awareness.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Align with the breast cancer campaign, let’s talk about breast cancer symptoms. There are a few symptoms to detect if you have breast cancer, however not all these symptoms are cancerous. If you have these symptoms, make sure to do a check-up with a professional healthcare worker.
A major symptom of breast cancer is the changes on your breast or nipple. Some say the skin texture on your breast and nipple area changes and pores enlarge resembling orange’s skin texture. A lump in your breast and it getting thickening. Lumps are not necessarily cancerous so this is where a mammogram is needed.
Next, changes in your breast or nipple sizes and unexplained shrinkage or swelling happen especially if it is only on one side of your breast. It is normal to have one side larger than the other but if it happens recently then it is highly advisable for you to go and do a check-up with your doctor.
Additionally, if there is any leakage from your nipple when you are not breastfeeding, it is probably one of the symptoms of breast cancer. Although not all leakage is related to cancer, it is still dangerous for your health. Clear and blood leakage are the worst, so if it happens do not delay your checkup anymore!
A mammogram screening is an X-ray that helps doctors to see through your breast and detect if you have breast cancer or not. Upon making an appointment and arriving at the facility, you will be asked to change your clothing into the hospital robe. This is so that you will feel more comfortable when you’re in the process.
The process begins when you put your breast on a clear plate attached to the special X-ray machine. Another plate will be pressed from above to flatten your breast and hold your breast in place while the X-ray is taken. This process will be repeated for a few times to scan your breast fully and the same process will be done for the other side of your breast.
Usually, a mammogram is done by a professional and trained nurse and not the doctor specifically. So they might not tell you the exact meaning of your X-ray breast picture. The result of your mammogram will be sent to you or they will ask you to pick it up after a few weeks.
In conjunction with breast cancer month, some healthcare providers provide free mammogram screening Malaysia for women above 40 years old as they are at more risk to have breast cancer. This is one of the benefits when you are exposed to breast cancer awareness month. Outside of the month of October, you could have a mammogram Malaysia for as low as RM150 at any hospital that provides it.
For those who don’t know, breast cancer awareness is symbolised by a pink ribbon. This symbol also is used to spread awareness of breast cancer Malaysia. The colour pink is associated with the gender roles of a woman in modern western countries, to be kind and caring to others. The use of ribbon as a symbol is inspired by the event that happened in 1979. A wife had tied a yellow ribbon on a tree in her front yard after her husband was taken hostage by Iran. The yellow ribbon is a sign that she wanted her husband to be back home.
In 1991, the Komen New York City Race for The Cure – a breast cancer survivor program, distributed pink ribbons to all breast cancer survivors and participants as signage. The next year, a well-known magazine’s chief editor who wanted to spread more breast cancer awareness collaborated with big brands to distribute pink ribbons to their customers. Until the present day, the pink ribbon is used widely all around the world to celebrate breast cancer awareness month.
Let’s start wearing your pink ribbon with pride now to give our support and rise together with the breast cancer patients and survivors!
Breast Cancer Malaysia
According to the World Health Organization, from 2002 to 2012, breast cancer Malaysia is recorded as the highest cancer affected by Malaysian women compared to other cancers. One in nineteen women are at a high risk of getting breast cancer in their lives. That’s how high the percentage of breast cancer among Malaysian women is.
As Malaysians use social media as a platform for getting their latest news, it is wise to spread awareness about breast cancer through these platforms. It is already common to see some medical-related social media account to be posting about the awareness but we can still do more.
Collaborating with local brands to put pink ribbon signage in their advertisement or products is one of the ways to make the breast cancer campaign a continuous activity in Malaysia. An interesting example could be inspired by the 2021 Bonia campaign when they produced the “B-Pink” campaign in collaboration with the Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia.
There is still much more to do in promoting breast cancer Malaysia, and sometimes simple information sharing is more than enough. Double-check your source before you share any information so that the campaign is a solid success. We don’t want people to get more confused or overwhelmed by all the information. A simple illustration of how to self-check breast cancer symptoms also helps!
In the breast cancer awareness campaign, every little thing counts! This is not a gender problem, everyone regardless of gender should help to promote breast cancer awareness. Do your part now!