Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women in Hong Kong and the world over, which begs the question: who is more likely to suffer from breast cancer?
According to the latest report from the Department of Health, breast cancer accounts for 27.2% of the total number of new cancer cases in Hong Kong women, or 114.3 diagnosed per 100,000 women, with an age-average of 70.8 years.
As the third most deadly cancer after lung cancer and colorectal cancer, breast cancer caused the death of 852 women in 2019. . Although the average morbidity rate is increasing, thankfully the average mortality rate has stayed the same over the years.
The formation of breast cancer stems from the uncontrolled division and growth of breast cells to form tumors. If the tumor is malignant, it can then be defined as breast cancer. Although it is difficult to determine the cause of breast cancer with current technology, in general, the factors that cause breast cancer are as follows:
1) Long-term consumption of high-fat foods;
2) Lack of exercise with bad habits such as smoking and drinking;
3) Over 60% of breast cancer patients in Hong Kong have never breastfed;
4) Long-term use of contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy for more than 5 years;
5) Had been suffering from benign breast diseases and other cancers;
6) An immediate family member diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer before the age of 50
Breast cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Hong Kong. Over 40% of confirmed diagnoses in the world are actually diagnosed by women who would notice abnormalities on their breasts when performing their own examinations, followed by a more thorough checkup by professionals to confirm the diagnosis. It goes beyond saying that monitoring your breast condition regularly helps find abnormalities. Below are some indications of breast cancer developments:
1) Breasts: Hard lumps, changes in shape and size; spots and dents in the skin. The skin texture becomes thick and scaly that looks like an orange peel;
2) Nipples: sunken; shape changing; lumps or thickening; automatic secretions including bleeding;
3) Swelling of the armpits or swollen lymph nodes
However, it is common for women during menstruation or early pregnancy, to have changes that also cause breast tenderness, or lumps on the nipple; this is a routine physiological reaction and shouldn’t be the cause for worry. However, if you find anything unusual, it is always best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.