EVERY woman aged 40 and above is advised to go for a mammogram x-ray check at least once a year for early detection of breast cancer.
Radiologist with Jerudong Park Medical Centre Sdn Bhd (JPMC), Dr Shyja Abraham Sequiera said mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breast that is used to detect and evaluate breast changes.
"For women between 40 and 49 years old, it is advisable for them to have the mammogram check once a year and those between 50 and 69 years old, the recommended test should be once in two years," she said during a press conference on breast cancer screening promotion, yesterday.
As an effort to encourage women to go for breast cancer screening, JPMC is now introducing Breast Screening Promotion for four days this month. The screening package with a special price of $168 will be conducted on December 14, 15, 21 and 22.
JPMC marketing officer Ak Danny Pg Tajuddin said the package entitled customer for a doctor consultation, mammography and a complementary breast self-examination lesson.
"For four days we are offering screening package which includes doctor consultation, mammography and a complimentary breast self-examination lesson," he said.
Ak Danny said they hoped with the introduction of the package, it would encourage more women to come and do the mammogram x-ray test so any malignant cells can be detected early and necessary treatments were taken.
He added JPMC has acquired a new state-of-the art mammogram x-ray machine in June. The machine will give optimal compression to the breasts without causing excess pain to the patient.
"The experience will not be painful as there will be background music and lights to soothe the patient apart from our professional staff are always on hand to provide help. The result of the mammogram will be given on the day itself, so there will be no long waiting," he said.
Dr Sequiera said majority of women are afraid to go for a mammogram x-ray because they fear that they may have malignant tumours and have to undergo treatments to kill the cancerous cells.
She added mammogram x-ray is the best option to look for cancerous cells as compared to ultrasound and MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) which are not accurate and costly respectively.
She added apart from extremely expensive, MRI is not recommended as a screening tool because it is also time-consuming.
"The mammogram machine that we have here in JPMC is the latest which produce low radiation and cause the least discomfort when each breast is compressed between two plates," she said adding that it is done to flatten and spread the breast tissue.
She said breast cancer is the most common ailment among women in Brunei and most of them were detected in quite an advanced stage and hence rigorous treatments are necessary.
"However the chances that an abnormality found after the mammogram as cancer are very rare. Maybe one out of every 1,000 persons screened will be positive for cancer. Most of the abnormalities detected are usually benign," she said. Dr Sequiera added although mammogram x-ray can help women detect abnormalities in the breasts, women are advised to do self-examination every month.
Those who are interested in the promotion can contact the JPMC's Department of Diagnostic Imaging (DDI)/Radiology at 2611433 ext 2224 or email to email@example.com to book for an appointment.