Opinion: Care for the BREAST

Breast cancer, the number one cancer killer of women in Malaysia and worldwide; a field of my current interest; probably my focus of study for my PhD. I must admit that all this while I've been focusing so much on colorectal cancer, which I studied for masters degree, but neglecting what females fear most..BREAST CANCER..

Although I don't have any personal story to share (Thank God), but I've been reading quiet a number of true stories based on patients suffering from breast cancer, and seeing social perspective towards this killer disease. There are many heart-wrenching stories which brings tears to the eyes..but that is what I want to share about now.. Its about social stigma attached to the term 'breast cancer'..

At the moment, I'm helping out a friend of mine who came all the way from Saudi Arabia to study on breast cancer among Malaysian female teachers. Its her PhD, unfortunately but she is finding it very hard to get co-operation from the teachers. And it is so embarassing on my side to see a fairly educated (and educating) population group refusing to co-operate on educational program which actually brings benefit to them! We have teachers refusing to allow us to measure their waist line**, saying that they are wearing corset and no way they going to remove it in order to get the real measurement. Making situation worse, there are even teachers scolding us, saying that we are trying to implicate that they already have breast cancer. Or refusing to be a part because they feel they WILL NOT get breast cancer and whatever we are teaching is pure rubbish.

I also heard about a medical doctor, refused to seek treatment (which means surgically removing her affected breast) because she doesn't want to lose her husband's affection.. to me, it sound silly.. literally it means she is willing to lose her life but not her breast..I also know a medical student (now a doctor) who made fun of breast affected with cancer.. for me, this is the most disgusting thing I've ever heard as far as breast cancer is concerned.

But why? why breast cancer isn't accepted as just another cancer affecting an organ in our body? After all, even men get breast cancer (yes, they HAVE breast). Although it rarely happens, but its fatal among men. Provided detected early and proper treatment is given, breast cancer survivors actually have the highest survival rate compared to any other cancer..When come to matters pertaining lives, there is nothing to be shy off.. and its time for our Malaysian women to realise that.

**waist circumference has close correlation with risk for metabolic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure etc