With the aim of raising awareness and promoting access to timely treatments, the International Day of the fight against breast cancer is celebrated every October 19
Every October 19, on the initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Day against Breast Cancer is celebrated worldwide, with the aim of raising awareness about the disease and promoting access to diagnoses, controls, and timely and effective treatments.
According to WHO data, Breast Cancer represents 16% of all the female cancers, it is the most common in developing and industrialized countries, occurs to men and women (but is much more frequent in women) and in 2004, 519 thousand women died from this type of cancer.
According to the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS, acronym in Spanish), the institution with the greatest presence in health care and in the social protection of Mexicans, the risk factors are:
• Bad habits
• Family background
• Having the first child after age 30
• Not having children
• Having hormones for menopause
• Alcohol, overweight and lack of physical activity.
• Use hormonal contraceptives for more than 5 years.
• Be over 40 years old
• First menstruation before the age of 12.
What about Latin America?
According to WHO information, approximately 152,000 cases of Breast Cancer are diagnosed in Latin America each year, with around 5600 deaths per year. In addition, 15% of cases are detected in intractable phases.
"The low survival rates observed in underdeveloped countries can be explained mainly by the lack of early detection programs, which makes a high percentage of women go to the doctor with the disease already very advanced, but also due to the lack of adequate services of diagnosis and treatment, "says WHO.
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Claudia Arce, an oncologist from the Department of Mammary Tumors at the National Cancer Institute (Incan, acronym in Spanish) of Mexico, told Efe that while tumors are detected in Europe when they measure only one centimeter, in Latin America they are detected when they measure an average of six centimeters.
"This implies that, for each month of delay in the initiation of timely treatment, 1.8% increase the probability of presenting an advanced stage of the disease," he explained.
Early detection strategies recommended for underdeveloped nations, according to the WHO, are the knowledge of the first signs and symptoms, which are generally perceived through self-exploration.
What you should look for?
The Cancer Center of Spain, MD Anderson, recommends looking for any of the following anomalies in breast self-examination and, if found, immediately go to a specialist:
• Asymmetric abnormalities that usually only appear in one of the breasts.
• A lump the size of a pea or a hazelnut, not necessarily painful, or a dense and hard mass to the touch.
• Nipple in a different position than normal.
• Changes in the texture of the skin of the breast.
• Changes in the color of the areola.
• Increase in the number of visible veins in one of the breasts.
• Asymmetries in the size of the breasts.
Latinamerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro
Copy edited by Vanesa López Romero