Women urged to have breast cancer checks

Cai Wenjun
A health official says Chinese women have a lack of awareness of the nation's No. 1 cancer and many fail to go to hospital in time when early detection is key. 
Cai Wenjun

Breast cancer makes up 17.1 percent of new cancer cases in China every year, making it the country’s No. 1 cancer, according to a report on Chinese women’s health issued in Shanghai on Thursday. 

October is the international breast cancer awareness month, with a pink ribbon its symbol.

Genetic screening, regular checkups, early detection and early treatment are key in breast cancer prevention and control.

“Healthy lifestyle, proper exercise and regular breast care are all important,” said Dr Liao Ning of Guangdong Province People’s Hospital. “We suggest woman aged between 40 and 49 should receive one joint check with both mammogram and breast ultrasound and advise a mammogram every year for women over 50. Every woman should receive a test on BRCA genes, whose mutations are closely related with breast cancer.”

Zhang Ligang, president of iKang Healthcare Group, said Chinese women are not sufficiently aware of breast cancer and many failed to go to hospital in time.

A study based on some 2.3 million women aged from 18 to 40 who received a checkup at iKang between July last year and June this year found that 26.8 percent of them had breast problems such as nodules or cysts.

“The detection rate rises along with age. About 40 percent of women between 40 and 50 and over 60 are found to have breast problems,” Zhang said. “We suggest they should receive a breast check every year to identify the early stage of breast cancer in time. We also found women with a faster pace of life, higher pressure and who had babies later in life had a high risk of breast problems.”

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