Breast cancer: self-test must be made priority

Editor, RE: “Breast cancer check” (The New Times, May 2).


RE:Breast cancer check” (The New Times, May 2).

I would like to point out that the newest empirical evidence demonstrates that repeated yearly mammograms often have increased risk of false positive results and now some experts in the field of breast cancer research are recommending having a mammogram every two years if your last three mammograms have been negative.

Also, there is certainly risks involved in having repeated X-rays of the breasts year after year, like any other body part which would absorb that much radiation over a long period of time. There is much research around tissue density types which can help predict those who are at higher risk.

As you have cited in your article, the latest research for early detection of breast and many other types of cancer is called genomic research. It is used for testing the diagnosed patient to predict re-occurrence if cured, as well as other types of cancer which can occur thereafter.

Genomic testing can also be used for full biological sisters, and full biological female offspring of the patient in order to determine their risk for developing breast cancer or other types of cancers.

Monthly self-breast examinations, (completed in the bath or shower) if taught properly, in many cases is the best early detection that something does not feel right or normal for that individual and warrants a trip to the gynecologist or family physician.

As a side note and not necessary related to the article; truly, research for women’s health has come a long way since the times when most research was performed on middle aged Caucasian men, (even for women’s health issues).

I am glad we have come out of our research caves in order to treat each person, according to gender specific illnesses...Although male breast cancer is on the rise, it still effects women much more.

There are still other female types of illnesses which do not anatomically effect men, and which calls for focused research. After all, how would it be possible for women to be in a research study for male prostate cancer or other male dominated ailments?

Lorraine N.


I recently attended an advocacy summit where similar sentiments were stressed by all presenters as the key to addressing the burden of breast cancer in Africa. Population screening that has worked in high income countries is not viable for us for obvious reasons, but awareness, education and prevention—the way to go!

At Breast Cancer Initiative East Africa (BCIEA Inc.) our chant, Ikunde, Imenye, Isuzumishe because Early Detection is the Best Protection as It May Save Life, is one way we are striving to increase breast cancer awareness in Rwanda.

We also believe that if we all worked together, we can find the answer to cancer.

Philippa Decuir