Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Her family history showed no signs of breast cancer, but despite this, a 27-year-old woman living in Hưng Yen Northern Province still examined herself at home.
And she was right to carry out her own check up. She felt something wrong and opted for a medical opinion.
A tumour was discovered, but thankfully wasn’t harmful and could be treated easily.
Asking not to be identified, we are calling her ‘H’.
"Through the methods shared in books and the internet, at home, I check myself and see abnormal breast signs,” said H.
“Then I go to the provincial hospital and they told me the ultrasound results revealed cystic fibrosis.”
“I wanted a second opinion so I went to Hà Nội-based K Hospital for a re-examination. The doctor says I had benign cystic fibrosis. The early examination makes me feel much more secure. Every year, women should go to the clinic twice a year, because if the disease is detected early, it is very easy to treat," H added.
Dr. Nguyễn Diệu Linh, deputy head of K Hospital’s Examination Department, said: "Over the last few years, the number of young people coming to the clinic has increased, which can be the result of the health sector’s cancer education programme.”
Different from H, a 15-year-old patient we will call ‘V’ from the northen province of Nam Định was hospitalised in K Hospital with nasopharyngeal cancer and detected disease in its second stage.
The patient was found to have nodules in the neck, showing signs of pain accompanied by high fever for a month. After the test and magnetic imaging, she was found to be at risk for nodal metastasis and should be treated with radiation therapy at the same time.
When she first discovered the disease, she said her family felt like the earth was falling down, and she cried a lot.
“No one could ever imagine a young girl suffering from cancer of the throat,” her mother said.
Lê Anh Tuấn, head of treatment department, Hưng Việt Cancer Hospital, said Việt Nam had few statistics on cancer rejuvenation but the reality of treatment and research showed that at present, all types of cancers were found in young people, including lung cancer and lymphoma.
Doctors expressed deep concern because of the high number of cancer patients aged between 15 and 17 years old.
But the most rejuvenating cancer diseases were digestive cancer, especially stomach cancer and colon cancer.
“Stomach and colon cancer is common. Previously, the number of gastric cancer patients under 40 years old was very low, accounting for about 3-5 per cent, but now the rate is 8-10 per cent,” Tuấn said
Colon cancer was higher in young people, with the majority of sufferers aged between 20 and 30 years old.
The Associate Professor Trần Văn Thuấn, director of K Hospital said the majority of breast cancer patients in Việt Nam detected the disease late because many don’t conduct self-exams.
Thuấn said patients were getting younger and the trend of breast cancer was on the rise. In 2000, 18 people had breast cancer in a total of 100,000 people, ten years later that figure rose to 30.
K Hospital doctors have treated some girls aged around 20 years old. Young patients were more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage than older adults, so treatment was extremely difficult, with few survivors.
Dr. Lê Viết Nam from the Center for Medicine and Oncology Department, at Hà Nội-based Bạch Mai Hospital said: "Throat cancer is often seen in young people, one is due to genetic factors, secondly, probably due to the influence of habitat.”
“If a female patient does not smoke, but lives in an environment where a relative smokes, she can be affected.”
Diet is also a problem, particularly in remote areas.
In addition to endocrine disorders, inherited traumas in the individual’s body, the onset of cancer was a combination of external factors such as environmental pollution, substances, pesticides and growth stimulants.
“From physicians’ opinions, among risk factors for young people with cancer, bad habits in lifestyle and activities should be first take into account.” said Nam.
“From diet to sleep, to oral contraceptives, to hormone medications (in women) without doctor’s control, the amount of diseases is higher than in the past.
“Therefore, if you look at the subjective risk factors, each person can prevent themselves from this dangerous.”
Young people should change their mindset and stop believing "cancer is the disease of the elderly," because this disease affects all ages.
Dr Phạm Văn Bình, head of surgery department at K Hospital, said: "In the past, we pre-tested people aged over 40 for cancer. But now we should conduct tests at age 30 or sooner if possible.”
"Pre-cancer testing should be implemented as early as possible, because early cancer diagnosis remains the key to treatment," said Bình.
In future, the Cancer Research and Prevention Institute will coordinate with other agencies to study the causes of cancer rejuvenation, said Associate Professor Trần Văn Thuận, director of K Hospital.
In Việt Nam, there are 126,000 new cancer cases per year and 94,000 deaths due to cancer, with breast cancer accounting for about 11,000 new cases and more 5,000 deaths each year.
Thuấn said breast cancer was a common cancer in Vietnamese women and most countries in the world. Around 14.1 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed each year worldwide, of which breast cancer alone accounted for 1.2 million cases. — VNS