4 male breast cancer cases in Brunei

National 2 minutes, 58 seconds


FOUR cases of breast cancer in men have been reported in Brunei for the past 10 years, and the numbers may continue to rise if unhealthy lifestyle remains unchanged.

"We are living in an era of unhealthy lifestyle, in world with fast food and people just get too busy from work that they have no time to exercise. This sort of imbalance in life has been the leading cause for the development of breast cancer, and men are certainly not excluded," said Dr Hj Mohd Syafiq Abdullah, Specialist Oncologist at Raja Isteri Pengiran Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital who was adviser to the Pink Ribbon Awareness programme held yesterday at the Health Promotion Centre.

Dr Hj Mohd Syafiq has recently treated a male patient who suffered from breast cancer. "Though far less common than in women, it is possible for men to develop breast cancer," he added.

Male breast cancer, he said, was not something new, and has been known to affect men for many years. It is a rare condition, accounting for only about one per cent of all breast cancers in each country around the globe. Breast cancer is less common in men because their breast duct cells are less developed than those of women and because their breast cells are not constantly exposed to the growth-promoting effects of female hormones.

"At the moment we've only received reports of elderly male patients with breast cancer in the country. Older men can easily develop breast cancer due to changes in their hormone balances, and from the four cases that we have received over the past 10 years, they're all in the 50 to 70 age group."

"But this does not mean that younger male are safe from getting cancer. The condition can develop in men of any age. Because of the drastic change in our lifestyle, I can see that there will be younger male patients to develop breast cancer in the future."

"Also, 10 per cent of breast cancer are genetic related or hereditary. When a man is born with two or more X (female) chromosomes, they are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Men who have several female relatives with breast cancer also have an increased risk for development of the disease. Therefore, environmental factors and unhealthy lifestyle may not usually be the main culprit here."

He said that because breast cancer is far less common in men and many men believe that only women get breast cancer, they often ignore the early signs of breast cancer, attributing the symptoms to infection or another cause.

Dr Hj Mohd Syafiq also said that ongoing efforts are needed to raise awareness on male breast cancer as well as the significance of early detection.

"We want to make this awareness for every one, and not just one-gendered. Breast cancer can occur to anyone regardless of gender, and we hope to see that even men can actually visit us at the Health Promotion Centre today to realise this."

That's why when we conduct a talk on the topic, we will always include mentioning that one per cent of breast cancer patient is men, he added.

He said that this was one of the ways to reach the men and acknowledge them about the reality that men are not excluded from developing breast cancer.

"There is a possibility that there are more cases out there, so men who experience signs of breast cancer should see a physician and do a check up right away."

The Brunei Times