How much do you know about breast cancer?
No sorry, that cute guy in the picture above is just part of an ad for breast cancer awareness and you can forget about having him help you check your breasts. Still, it is important that you are familiar with your breasts.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month worldwide.
I was invited to a Dell’s Women-Only Pink Ribbon High Tea, a cosy session where consumer technology and breast cancer awareness came together to empower women to lead an active and vibrant lifestyle. I did come away from the sharing session enlightened and inspired.
Launching the pink Dell Inspiron 13z, this tea party was organised by Dell for females only so that we could gain insights about breast cancer awareness.
The welcome pack had very pretty sweet treats for us femmes -
Immediately after the event I went for yoga and left my cupcakes in the car… look what happened to them when I got back to my car after class:
They were still edible but it made a complete mess of my face as the blue stuff smeared all over me! Thank goodness I was in the comfort of my own room when that happened and no one human witnessed it.
ANYWAY sweet treats and melt pelts aside, the purpose of the event was to introduce the latest pink laptop from Dell in conjunction with their initiative with the Breast Cancer Foundation to educate women everywhere to treasure their boobs!
A breast cancer survivor Cally was present to share her experience with us and also advise us on how early detection can save you and your breasts. She is such an upbeat and cheerful person with a really optimistic outlook in life despite all that she has been through. I really admire her strength and I applaud her sincerity in helping to increase the awareness for this.
There was a fun factor to the event where I NEARLY won myself that metallic pink Dell Inspiron 13z laptop! (URGH, reminding me of it sucks and makes me feel sore all over again, HMPH.) Anyway, after Cally’s sharing, we were shown a video about breast cancer awareness and how important it is to be aware of your own body. Honestly, how often do you look at your own boobs, let alone touch them?
After the video, we paired up and had to use the Dell Inspiron 3z to complete three parts of the contest. The winning pair gets to take home a brand new PINK Dell Inspiron 3z!! The first part of the contest was Spot the Difference which used the three Breast Cancer Awareness ads below. (These ads form the Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) 2010 advertising campaign, “Are you obsessed with the right things?”, crafted by DDB, and was awarded the Effie’s Gold Award 2011, for the category: non-profit/pro-bono/public service.)
Then we had to answer some questions about breast cancer – which were easy if you were paying attention to the video. Lastly, we had to design a poster in 10 minutes for breast cancer awareness and incorporate three logos – Breast Cancer Foundation, Dell and Intel – as part of the poster.
I was paired up with Cally and I swear we had the nicest poster.
We did have the nicest poster design, with the tagline “The Breast Things In Life… comes when you detect early” or something along those lines, that Cally remembered seeing somewhere. In the word ‘breast’, the ‘r’ was replaced with the pink ribbon.
But we lost by one point. You know why? Because we put the wrong Breast Cancer Foundation logo. OMG I wanted to stab myself in the leg at that moment. WHAT!!!
Closing off the session, we were taught how to do breast self-examination by checking our boobs for lumps and being familiar with how they feel. I swear I have never touched my own boobs in my entire lifetime so far, so getting me to do a breast self-examination is kinda weird. Get a guy to do it? I think the breast self-examination might be aborted halfway, but ANYWAY anyone from as young as 18 years old can go for a mammogram.
Some facts about breast cancer in Singapore:
- Most common cancer among women in Singapore (about 3 in 10 cancers occuring in Singaporean women is breast cancer)
- 1 in 17 women develops breast cancer in her lifetime
- Most prevalent in women age 50 years to 59 years in Singapore
- Age: The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age.
- Personal history of breast cancer: The risk increases if the woman had breast cancer previously in one breast.
- Family history of breast cancer in first degree relatives such as mother, sister or daughter.
- Genetic predisposition: About 5-10% of breast cancers are inherited. Defects in genes such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 increase the risk of developing breast, ovarian and colon cancers.
- Radiation exposure to chest in childhood or adolescence.
- Early onset of menses and late menopause.
- Hormone replacement therapy with a combination of estrogen and progesterone for four or more years.
- Birth control pills: Use of pills for four years or more is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Alcohol intake: Excessive consumption of alcohol (> one alcoholic beverage per day) increases the risk of developing breast cancer by 20%.
While the exact cause of breast cancer is unknown as with most cancers, there are some lifestyle changes you can adopt to at least reduce the risk:
- Limiting alcohol intake to less than one drink a day or avoiding alcohol completely.
- Maintain a healthy weight as there is a clear link between obesity and breast cancer.
- Avoid long-term hormone therapy.
- Staying physically active.
- Eating foods high in fiber such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Consuming more olive oil as oleic acid, the main component of olive oil, appears to suppress the action of some cancer related genes in breast cancer
But do you know what’s most important? A positive mind.
Cally was sharing with us that excessive or high levels of stress can actually contribute significantly to cancer. Many people underestimate the power of positive thinking. She told us that she was facing a lot of pressure from her boyfriend then and she feels that might have been a staggering factor to her contracting breast cancer. She could not stop emphasising how important it is to live life happy. Well, you should live life happy anyway!
There are some screening tests you can do for your breasts:
- Breast self examination.
- Clinical breast examination to examine the breasts for lumps and to check the armpits for enlarged lymph nodes.
- Screening mammograms which are done on a yearly basis to detect any lump or changes in the breasts.
- Breast Ultrasound to determine if the lump is cystic or solid in structure.
Please see your doctor as soon as possible if you have:
- Discovered a lump which persists
- Noticed a change in the appearance/shape/size of the breast
- Blood or discharge from the nipple
- Persistent bone aches lasting more than 3 weeks
Oh yes and there are also myths about breast cancer:
- No, having bigger breasts do not give you a higher chance of getting breast cancer.
- No, breast cancer does not mean death sentence. If detected and treated early, you can be saved.
- No, breast cancer is not contagious. You can’t infected through physical contact such as sharing the same food or drinks or having sex.
- No, not all breast lumps are cancerous. Don’t freak out if you find lumps, but you can go and have it checked.
- No, an injury to the breast will not cause cancer.
- No, having only one mammogram done will not mean you are safe. Do mammograms annually or once in two years along with self-breast examination monthly or clinical breast examination yearly.
- No, mastectomy (removal of the entire breast) is not the only way to get rid of breast cancer. It depends on the stage and type of breast cancer.
Where to go for a mammogram?
- Subsidised mammography screening is available to Singaporean women or Permanent Residents aged 40 and above with no known symptoms such as breast lumps or nipple discharge and who have not had a mammogram in the last 12 months, through BreastScreen Singapore, run by the Health Promotion Board in conjunction with several polyclinics.
- The cost is $50.
- Appointments must be made through the Breast Screen Singapore Hotline: 1800 333 3030.
- For more information, email HPB_BreastScreen_Singapore@hpb.gov.sg or visit the HPB website.
- Most hospitals and several clinics offer mammography screening at unsubsidised rates. The cost ranges from $80 to $200 depending on the facility. Most of these require a referral by a GP, followed by a call to make an appointment.
If you need more information or have any questions, you may email the Breast Cancer Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.bcf.org.sg.
Thank you Dell for inviting me to tea! No, I am not going to start pressing my boobs everyday if that’s what you’re thinking.
Here are some creative breast cancer awareness ads I found on the internet:
I’ve always had this unspoken affinity with the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, probably because of my overwhelming obsession with pink. See, even my latest shades from Oakley has the logo subtly on the left lens. I spotted this design online and totally fell in love with the pink insides of the frame and it just so happened to be the Breast Cancer Awareness edition.
I think this pair of shades suit me a lot! Remember, it isn’t easy for me to find shades that suit my face shape.
Alright, if you cherish your boobs, you know what to do!
Btw, there are men who suffer from breast cancer too.