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9 September, 2019 00:00 00 AM

Breast cancer in Bangladesh

Breast cancer in Bangladesh is increasingly being diagnosed. It is the second most common cancer in our women. Like many other cancers, our knowledge of breast cancer has increased many folds over the last decade.
PROF. DR. ANISUR RAHMAN
Breast cancer in Bangladesh

Breast cancer in Bangladesh is increasingly being diagnosed. It is the second most common cancer in our women. Like many other cancers, our knowledge of breast cancer has increased many folds over the last decade. Although even today, the doctors are not very sure about what causes breast cancer. But numerous studies conducted all over the world have found several factors which are associated with it.

Some of these factors are not within our control, like, female gender, advancing age, family history of breast cancer, early menarche (Starting of menstruation) and late menopause (Stoppage of menstruation) etc. Other factors which have been associated with breast cancer are related to our life style.

This brings us to the topic of this discussion. Being 50% of our population, the women of our country are coming more and more to the work force. With better education, change in social environment; change in attitude and over all, attaining self-confidence, the Bangladesh corporate world is increasingly being populated by women folk.

The demand of the job, the competitive pressure and the ever increasing desire to succeed has led to change in the life style. Unfortunately many of these changes in lifestyle are also associated with breast cancer.

One must be very clear that none of these factors are directly implicated with breast cancer. But several major studies all over the world have again and again found association of these factors with breast cancer. These may be summarized as followed.

Not having a child or delaying the birth of first child, choosing not to or not being able to breast feed the child, leading a sedentary life style and not being able to exercise, obesity, consumption of high fat diet and fast foods, indulgence in smoking and alcohol, use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

The desire to succeed in career may make some women to delay in starting a family. Similarly tight office timing may prevent many mothers from breast feeding their children.

In these days of ubiquitous computer in our work place we work almost all day in our desks and there is very little time or opportunity for physical exercise. In the same note it may be said that during working days it is convenient to have fast food for lunch, leading to large intake of fat.

The international nature of the corporate world, with frequent contact and business meeting with colleague from all over the world, it is only natural that alcohol consumption and smoking will also become frequent.

So what can be done? The best advice is to be aware. We must accept all women are at risk, and the risk increases with age. If you are between 30 to 40 years, then regular breast self-examination (BSE) once a month should be done. Your surgeon will tell you how to do it.

 If you discover anything unusual then seek medical help promptly. If you are 40 and above then along with monthly BSE, annual mammogram is advocated. Mammogram is a special type of X ray of the breast that can detect very early breast cancer. Along with these measures, try to lead a healthy life style.

Eat right, avoid fat and red meat and take lot of green vegetable. Make time every day to do regular exercise; even 45 minutes of brisk walking 5 days a week has been found beneficial. Avoid alcohol and smoking, which are the cause of many other diseases also.

If you do discover a breast lump, remember only about 10% of the lumps in ladies over 30 turn out to be cancer. The percentage increases with advanced age. Avoid denial, don’t be shy and seek prompt medical advice. Don’t waste time going for nontraditional therapy. Remember breast cancer like many other cancer can be treated best if diagnosed early.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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