YOU ARE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO START PAYING ATTENTION TO THE HEALTH OF YOUR BREASTS – A PROJECT BY FEMALE AND BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Singapore with more than 2,000 diagnosed annually. It’s also a leading cause of death.
About one in six women who suffer from breast cancer in Singapore are below the age of 45 and as young as 18.
International studies show that younger women when diagnosed have a higher incidence of suffering from more aggressive forms of breast cancer. These include HER2+ breast cancer, which spreads quickly if left untreated, and Triple Negative Breast Cancer – or TNBC – for which treatment options are limited at present.
Yet younger women tend to be less aware of the illness – in a 2017 BCF survey, most women aged below 45 expressed having limited knowledge about breast cancer incidence.
Remember: The earlier one detects breast cancer, the higher the survival rate.
If diagnosed at stage one, five-year survival rates exceed 90 per cent. If diagnosed at stage four, this statistic drops to 25 percent.
Breast cancer may not be painful in its early stages or show any symptoms. And while those with a family history of the disease, or who started menstruating early, consume alcohol regularly or had their first child after age 30 are at higher risk, four in five women diagnosed don’t have any risk factors.
In short, whether you’re in your 20s, 30s or 40s, you are never too young to do your monthly breast checks.
A SELF-EXAMINATION DOES NOT COST ANYTHING.
Using the fingerpads of your middle three fingers, press firmly yet gently across the entire breast and armpit on each side in a circular motion to feel for lumps. You can do this in the shower or when lying down. A lump – however small or painless – should be checked immediately. One should also observe closely for any physical changes. Things to look out for: a persistent lump or thickening in these areas; changes in the colour or skin of the breast, areola or nipple; a newly retracted nipple; any blood or discharge from the nipple; or a change in the shape or size of the breasts.
Breast cancer and its treatments will affect one’s life, relationships, emotions and future.
The financial decisions you make early in your life can make a huge difference should you ever need assistance with treatment.
Scan this QR code and visit www.bcf.org.sg and @bcfsg on Instagram to find out more about how the disease affects women – and what you can do about it. (Remember: Early detection saves lives and breasts!)