Breast Cancer Statistics in the Philippines
In the Philippines, breast cancer ranks as the top cancer among women. In 2018, 25,000 new breast cancers were recorded, accounting for a little over 30% of new cancer cases in women. Breast cancer affects mostly women, though men are also susceptible to this particular cancer. But its occurrence in men is very rare.
As a highly treatable disease, it is crucial that breast cancer be diagnosed as early as possible. It can be done with the help of self-exams and lab te1sts for breast cancer.
In a study, it was found that if the cancer was contained to only the breast, a woman’s 5-year survival rate was 99%. But as some symptoms only appear in later stages, it is encouraged that young women become familiar with their breasts and undergo self-exams and lab tests for breast cancer.
What is a Breast Self-Exam?
The self-exam is a simple method that women can use to check their breasts for any abnormalities, such as lumps and dimpling, suspicious discharge, or any physical changes of the breast tissue and nipple.
While lumps and the like may be of benign cause, familiarizing yourself with your breasts can help you detect any signs that may be related to breast cancer.
According to Johns Hopkins Medical, 40% of diagnosed breast cancer cases were detected by women during a breast self exam.
How Do You Do Breast Self Exams?
It is encouraged that you do your self exams regularly, at least once a month. But feel free to do the breast self exam as often as you like. The best time to check your breasts is 3 to 5 days after your period ends. At this time, your breasts are less tender and lumpy.
It is normal to feel lumps and ridges in your breasts. These may change or appear and disappear throughout your menstrual cycle and as you age. It is important to make it a habit to check your breasts to understand what “normal” looks like and feels like for you.
To help you out, you can record your observations in a journal, identifying where you usually feel lumps. When it comes to self exams and lab tests for breast cancer, being detailed and specific can significantly help your doctor come up with a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for you.
What Signs Should I Look Out For?
Every woman’s breast is different. Breasts come in different shapes and sizes, and may change as one ages. It is important to familiarize yourself with what is normal and typical for your breasts.
The breast self-exam aims to check for the following abnormalities or irregularities: