Prevent late-stage diagnosis of breast cancer

National 2 minutes, 30 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

AWARENESS on breast cancer needs to be spread widely amongst the public to strengthen the fight against the disease and prevent late-stage diagnosis, said health experts yesterday.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Zumba session in the capital to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month which was held at a Bandarku Ceria event, Dr Kenneth Kok, medical director at The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC), said Brunei has made great strides in raising awareness but more needs to be done to ensure the public is aware of the disease.

“I think (Bruneians) are aware, but there’s still a lot of work to be done because we’re still seeing patients with breast cancer being diagnosed at quite late stages.

“So I think from our side, there’s still a lot to be done,” said Dr Kok, who is also a consultant surgeon at TBCC.

He said holding sports activities such as Zumba and interactive exhibitions on cancer can help raise awareness on ways to prevent, treat and control different forms of the disease.

Meanwhile, Dr Amalinda Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi, a breast surgeon at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital (RIPAS), said the number of breast cancer cases in Brunei has increased, attributing this to better awareness on cancer.

“The cancer trend is on the increase. We’re picking up a lot of cancer cases now, and unfortunately at early ages as well,” she said.

She highlighted that raising awareness on breast cancer and urging the public to take proactive steps towards prevention, including making regular health screenings a top priority, can help the Ministry of Health spot cancer in patients early.

Dr Amalinda also stressed the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of cancer.

Anissah Rafael, a student from Micronet International College and one of the participants at yesterday’s Bandarku Ceria event, said figures on breast cancer diagnosis in Brunei are very alarming, noting that efforts to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of breast cancer are needed.

“I think in Brunei, anyone knows at least two people who either have cancer or have died from it.

“It’s become the new normal, and this is very worrying,” she said

She said more awareness talks should be held at schools and there should be more roadshows held at shopping complexes.

Also at the Bandarku Ceria event was a 47-year-old breast cancer survivor who only wished to be known as Hjh Alimah.

Diagnosed with stage two breast cancer four years ago, she said the health ministry should make breast cancer screenings mandatory for women with a family history of the disease.

She encouraged women to get themselves checked and to avoid delaying treatment if they find anything abnormal.

Yesterday’s 90-minute Zumba session to raise awareness on breast cancer was organised by the Ministry of Health, TBCC and the Brunei Cancer Support Group.

The event is among the ministry’s efforts to raise awareness on breast cancer.

The Brunei Times