Health experts have laid emphasis on early detection of breast and cervical cancer for prevention of the two different types of killer diseases that claims many lives across the country.
As breast and cervical cancer patients are increasing in the country at an alarming rate, massive awareness campaign should be launched in the country to create mass awareness about the two types of deadly cancer disease, they added.Describing breast and cervical cancer as global phenomenon, health experts said people need to be educated on the diseases, which would eventually save lives of women through taking early protective measures.
They blamed social taboos and unawareness as the main reasons for unchecked breast cancer and delay in early detection.
Early diagnosis and screening help patients to start getting treatment and reduce the risk of deaths.
According to a project report titled “Centre for Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening and Training,” in Bangladesh women are mostly diagnosed with breast and uterine cancer.
The project report said about 15,000 have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the country so far. Of the total, 8,000 women died of breast cancer.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include: a breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue, change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast, changes to the skin over the breast such as dimpling, a newly inverted nipple, peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin, redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange.If a woman faces such type of symptoms, she should visit nearby hospitals, maternity clinic and upazila health complex for detection of the disease. Women with early cervical cancers and pre-cancers usually have no symptoms.
Symptoms often do not begin until the cancer becomes invasive and grows into nearby tissue. When this happens, the most common symptoms are: abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding after vaginal sex, bleeding after menopause and having (menstrual) periods that are longer or heavier than usual. Bleeding after douching or after a pelvic exam may also occur.
Women, who get married before the age of 18 years, should do the breast checkup after 25 years. Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) is a must for elderly women.
Hosne Ara, who is entrusted with examining breast as well as uterine cancer at Natore Sadar Hospital, said, “The method by which we check uterus cancer is called Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) and the method for breast cancer checkup is called Clinical Breast Examination (CBE).”
She said about 150 women come to the hospital every month to examine whether they have breast as well as uterus cancer or not.
After completion of the test, those women who do not have uterus or breast cancer or related complications are provided with green card and are advised to come to the hospital three years after the test, said Asrafunnesa, chief nurse of the hospital.
Besides, the women who have uterus or breast cancer related complications are provided with pink card and they are referred to specialist for medication.
According to civil surgeon office, Natore Sadar Hospital and five upazila health complexes detected a total of 1,169 women affected with breast cancer while 52 women with uterus cancer in 2018.
Upazila Health Officer of Singra Dr Aminul Islam said they arranged camps to make people aware of VIA and CBE methods in 2017 and 2018 so that they can give medical assistance to the affected people.
“During the camp, we have detected 27 women affected with uterus cancer and 23 women with breast cancer after examining 750 women,” he said. “After completion of the camps, we have given them prescriptions and also advised them to take measures accordingly,” he added.
Rebeka Sultana, who went to Natore Sadar Hospital for VIA and CBE test recently, told journalists that anybody can test uterus and breast cancer at the hospital by buying Tk 5 ticket, she will only need a national identity card for the checkup.
“As I am not diagnosed with breast cancer or uterus cancer, physicians advised me to come to the hospital after three years,” she added.
Dr Shampa Rani Kundu, a gynecologist at Natore Hospital, told journalists that although the exact causes of uterine cancer are not known, risk factors include women with endometrial overgrowth (hyperplasia), obesity, women who have never had children, menses beginning before age 12, menopause after the age of 55.
Civil Surgeon of Natore Hospital told journalists that all concerned should be aware of the cancer tests provided by different government hospitals so that people can visit nearby hospitals, get the disease detected and go through early treatment to get cure from the deadly disease.