Breast cancer the top threat

PHOTO: Breast cancer the top threat

PETALING JAYA - Breast cancer continues to be the most common type of ailment among women.

The latest Health Ministry report, which gave statistics up to 2007, said 29 out of every 100,000 Malaysian women had breast cancer.

In comparison, eight out of 100,000 suffered cervical cancer, the third most common cancer affecting women.

The other most frequent cancers among women were colorectal cancer (10 per cent), ovary (6.5 per cent) and lung (5.4 per cent).

Worldwide, breast cancer was also the most frequent among women.

Nineteen to 86 cases per 100,000 women were diagnosed with the ailment in various countries, corresponding to 10.9 per cent of all cancer cases.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, who revealed this at a press conference after the official launch of the Softlan Breast Cancer Charity Campaign here yesterday, said this type of cancer accounted for six to 19 out of every 100,000 deaths worldwide.

She said the latest statistics showed that breast cancer represented almost a third (32 per cent) of all new cancers affecting women.

"Women tend to put their family first, rather than themselves.

"But, they must put a priority on their health too and examine their breasts monthly as well as go for screenings.

"It would be difficult for women to take care of their family if they are suffering themselves," she said, urging all women, especially those aged 40 and above, to go for annual clinical breast examinations.

Rosnah said while more women were coming forward with early Stage 1 and Stage 2 breast cancers, there were still patients turning up at the later Stage 3 and Stage 4 phases.

"Most breast cancer cases are detected at age 45 and above," she said, adding that early detection provided higher chances of survival.

Giving a racial breakdown of cancer sufferers, Rosnah said the incidence among the Chinese was 38.1 per cent per 100,000; while among the Indians it was 33.7 per cent and the Malays at 25.4 per cent.

Among men, the most frequent cancers were lung (16.3 per cent), colorectal (14.6 per cent) nasopharynx (8.3 per cent), prostate (6.2 per cent) and lymphoma (5.5 per cent).

Rosnah said the most frequent cancers for both genders combined were breast (18.1 per cent), colorectal (12.3 per cent), lung (10.2 per cent), nasopharynx (5.2 per cent) and cervix (4.6 per cent).