Smaller breasts do not significantly reduce one’s risk of getting breast cancer, according to a medical officer from the Health Promotion Center in Brunei.
During a talk on breast cancer for 30 female religious school teachers yesterday, Dr. Hjh Norol-Ehsan Hj Abdul Hamid said one of the most common misconceptions was among smaller-chested women who falsely believed that they had less chance of developing breast cancer.
“All women have the risk of developing breast cancer regardless of the size of their breast, race and socio-economy,” said Norol-Ehsan.
She said not all lumps on the breast are cancerous, as a woman’s menstruation cycle can see fluctuations in hormones which can cause lumps or swelling.
“The breast tissue of a woman changes during menstruation because of the changing levels of estrogen and progesterone,” she added.
Women should look out for persistent, harder lumps, which are more likely to be malignant, and consult the nearest health center, clinic or hospital to be potentially screened for breast cancer.
She also encouraged women to recognize that they can play a more proactive role in reducing their risk for breast cancer, through adopting a healthy diet, increasing physical activity and lowering or eliminating alcohol and smoking.
“Generally speaking, adopting a diet lower in fat and higher in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), doing more exercise and cutting habits like smoking and excessive alcohol intake can reduce risk for all cancers by about 30 per cent,” she said.
In Brunei, breast cancer screening using X-ray, also known as mammograms, are not routinely offered, and are reserved for high-risk cases, such as those with a history of breast cancer.
Elderly women are also more likely to suffer from the disease, but the young are not exempt, with 20 percent of all cases comprising women in child-bearing age.
The talk, part of a breast cancer awareness outreach program, was held at Sungai Taring Religious School in Lumut.
The program has been running since November last year, and has been relayed to numerous government ministries and departments as well as learning institutions.
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