Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women worldwide. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we seek to do our part for our community, shedding light on the condition and educating women to be more breast aware.
The idea of breast cancer and the potential loss of a breast is extremely daunting for many women, but it doesn’t have to be so. Understanding and caring for our body starts from being informed, and through that we may be empowered to take ownership of our wellbeing.
Here, we allay some common misconceptions about breast cancer…
Breast cancer is a death sentence.
As with most cancers, when detected and treated early, breast cancer patients have a high chance of survival and recovery. Many patients return to normal life after treatment, with some enjoying higher quality of life than before.
Don't take it from us - hear from the four wonderful breast cancer warriors we spoke with earlier this month.
I don’t want to lose my breasts.
With new technology and research, breast cancer treatment is no longer limited to mastectomy (complete removal of breasts.) Depending on the stage and type of breast cancer, there are now a variety of treatment options like lumpectomy (removal of breast lump). In fact, for early stages of breast cancer, chemotherapy may not even be required.
I feel a lump in my breast but it’s not painful, so it can’t be cancerous.
Many of us hear alarm bells only when we feel pain. On the contrary, cancerous lumps tend to be painless and may not be fast-growing. All breast lumps found should be examined by a medical expert, regardless of pain or lack thereof.
All breast lumps are cancerous.
Nine out of ten breast lumps are actually benign. So, if you detect one, don’t be alarmed and seek medical advice. It may not be what you think it is. That said, as mentioned above, all breast lumps should be checked by a doctor, despite the low probability of them being malignant.
I have no family history of breast cancer; therefore, I should be quite safe from it.
Four in five women diagnosed with breast cancer have no known risk factors – this includes family history, regular alcohol intake and lack of physical activity. While it is true that women with family history or mutated genes face higher risks of breast cancer, those with low risk factors are not entirely exempted.
I am too young to have breast cancer.
We are starting to see more cases of younger women being diagnosed, even though it is still most prevalent among women aged 45 to 64. While women between 40 to 49 years old are advised to attend yearly mammograms, younger women over 20 years old should also conduct self-examinations once a month and be aware of changes in their breasts.
Symptoms to look out for:
- A persistent lump in breast or armpit area
- Blood or discharge from the nipple
- A newly retracted nipple
- Change in size or shape of a breast
- Changes in colour or skin of breast, areola or nipple
How to do self-examination
Breast Cancer Foundation has an easy and informative video on how to conduct your monthly breast self-examinations. All it takes is a few minutes a month – and you could save your life and your breast.
To learn more about breast cancer, or to support the breast cancer awareness cause, visit Breast Cancer Foundation’s website at bcf.org.sg.
In commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we have collaborated with botanical artist Lucinda Law on the release of the limited-edition Lotus Wrap. 15% of proceeds from the Lotus Wrap goes to Breast Cancer Foundation, in support of breast cancer awareness, and women and families affected by breast cancer.
For more information, visit essentials.banyantree.com/collections/lotus/products/lotus-wrap