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Health experts recommend women undergo early breast cancer screening

Update: October, 20/2020 - 16:23
Health officials, experts and celebrities kick off the annual breast cancer screening programme and awareness campaign at K Hospital in Tân Triều Branch, Hà Nội's Thanh Trì District on Sunday. Photo courtesy of the Health Ministry

HÀ NỘI — More and more breast cancer cases in Việt Nam in the last few decades have been found among young women, many of whom still think they are safe from the disease due to their age, doctors said during a recent conference.

At a conference hosted by Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper on Sunday, Head of the Department of Breast, Endocrine, Gastroenterology and Hepatology at HCM City Oncology Hospital Trần Nguyên Hà said that Việt Nam recorded about 15,000 new breast cancer cases every year, fewer than other Asian countries.

In developed countries, people with breast cancer were usually over 50, while in Việt Nam, the age was about 45, Hà said, adding that in some cases, the disease was detected too late.

“Women over 40 should have a breast cancer screening once a year,” Hà said.

Besides age, people whose relatives had breast cancer or other types of cancers are urged to get regular screenings. Those who have previously had breast cancer are also at higher risk.

Women who are obese, have early periods, late menopause or are postmenopausal using long-term hormonal replacement measures should pay attention to screening.

Hà said there were few differences between malignant and benign tumours and currently, a treatment method could target the differences and work effectively.

Doctor Huỳnh Quang Khánh from the Oncology Centre at Chợ Rẫy Hospital said that when finding unusual lumps or bumps in their breast, women should go to a health facility for testing.

Thanks to improvements in cancer screening, diagnosis, early detection as well as advanced methods, treatment for breast cancer patients is often successful, according to Khánh.

Deputy Health Minister Trần Văn Thuấn said at the launching ceremony of an action month against breast cancer that the disease was the most common cancer found in women and had become a burden for many countries including Việt Nam.

In Việt Nam, nearly 164,700 new cancer cases were detected yearly, of which, there were 15,229 breast cancer cases, accounting for nearly 21 per cent of cancers in women.

Notably, in the last few decades, more Vietnamese women at younger ages had breast cancer, Thuấn said.

“Breast cancer is treatable if detected early,” Thuấn said, emphasising the importance of early detection which can help increase the effectiveness of treatment and reduce medical costs.

“However, because of shyness, many women are hesitating to take early screening,” he said, adding that in many cases, patients went to hospital for treatment too late. Diagnosis is often very late with a small portion of patients accessing the best medicines for their diagnosis, resulting in over a third of Việt Nam’s breast cancer patients dying of the disease. — VNS

Free breast cancer screening offered to about 5,000 women

About 5,000 women in Hà Nội, HCM City and seven northern provinces are expected to receive free breast cancer screening from October 18 to November 15.

This is part of activities in the action month against breast cancer that was launched by the Health Ministry’s Patient Support Fund – Bright Future Fund, with the sponsorship of Roche Vietnam on Sunday.

The fund co-operated with hospitals including the National Cancer Hospital, Chợ Rẫy Hospital, HCM City Oncology Hospital, Tâm Anh Hospital, Lạc Việt Friendship Hospital and Phú Thọ General Hospital to offer the free screening including clinical examination, breast ultrasound for all women coming to these destinations and mammogram screenings for suspected malignant cases.

Women from northern provinces of Bắc Ninh, Thái Bình, Hà Nam, Nam Định and Hải Dương would be taken by bus to two branches of the National Cancer Hospital for the screening.

Furthermore, there are many activities aimed to raise public awareness about breast cancer during the month-long campaign.

From October 5 to December 3, text UT to 1406 to donate VNĐ20,000 to the Bright Future Fund to support cancer patients.

From 8pm to 8.30pm on October 19th, a series of high-rise buildings in Hà Nội and HCM City will be lit up in pink to raise awareness of breast cancer. In the two cities, a series of "Doctor Talks" will be hosted in hospitals and public venues to educate people on breast cancer, where experts will also instruct women how to detect cancer in early stages, effectively preventing breast cancer and answering all concerns related to the disease. — VNS


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