#Providenciales, October 13, 2018 – Turks and Caicos Islands – The Turks and Caicos Islands join countries worldwide celebrating the Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October to increase awareness and support for the awareness, early detection, treatment and palliative care of this disease.
There are about 1.38 million new cases and 458,000 breast cancer deaths each year. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in developed and developing countries worldwide. Therefore, raising awareness and understanding of breast cancer risks, early signs and symptoms and overall breast health is an important part of our public health approach. Most deaths occur due to late diagnosis.
Most breast cancers occur in women who are 50 years or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. (Https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/young_women/bringyourbrave/breast_cancer_young_women/) About 10% of new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women under the age of 45. At the end of 2017, Turks and Caicos had about 90 cases of breast cancer diagnosed, including 8 new cases.
According to Ms. Rosemary Jolly, president of the Cancer Society, the way to make breast cancer better known was a great success as more than 500 people walked for various reasons. A considerable number of young people went for a walk. The events planned by the Cancer Society will continue during the month of October. Mrs. Jolly explained; "We need to educate our young people, and young men need to realize that not only women get breast cancer." Ms. Jolly also represents the Cancer Society on the National Committee on Noncommunicable Diseases, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Health Promotion and Advocacy of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services. The ministry continues to support and work with the Cancer Society and congratulates society on its efforts to raise awareness of cancer in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Department of Health has developed guidelines for breast cancer screening and has stepped up its awareness-raising activities in prevention and early detection. The Ministry of Health is also trying to develop a national cancer registry and tackle the STEPS survey, which is based on information to develop more targeted interventions.
Things you should know: –
- If you are over 40, consider getting a mammogram. Breast cancer screening has the best chance for a cure.
- Do not postpone screening for discomfort or fear of resultsA mammogram should never be painful. To relieve the symptoms, try to schedule the examination after the monthly period, when the breast tissue is less sensitive.
- Know your riskIf you have family members who have breast cancer, especially a mother or sister, tell your doctor that your own risk of cancer may be higher than average. High-risk women may be recommended for annual MRI in addition to a screening mammogram.
- For all womenFollow a healthy lifestyle and keep your weight in the normal range.
- For young women, breastfeed your babies as long as possible. Women who breastfeed their babies for at least one year have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
- For postmenopausal womenAvoid hormone replacement therapy. Menopausal hormone therapy increases the risk of breast cancer. If you need to take hormones to treat menopausal symptoms, avoid those containing progesterone and limit their use to less than three years.
- Know the symptoms– They are different and some people have no symptoms at all.
Symptoms can include
Ø Any change in the size or shape of the breast.
Ø pain in every area of the chest.
Ø Nipple discharge except breast milk (including blood).
Ø A new lump in the chest or armpit.
Ø If you have signs of concern, seek medical attention immediately.
The Minister of Health, Agriculture and Human Resources encourages all women to be proactive and non-reactive when it comes to their health. For more information, please contact the Health Promotion and Representation Department at 338 2772.