Sun, Sep 30, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Ex-breast cancer patients face high risk of new illness

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Patients with cancer in both breasts accounted for about 8 percent of the total number of breast cancer patients — an increase of about five times the percentage seen two years ago, Taipei Medical University Hospital said yesterday.

At a promotional event held in central Taipei yesterday, women over 40-years-old were urged to submit to a 10-minute breast cancer screening every year.

In one case cited by the hospital, a woman surnamed Yang (楊) — who had breast cancer in her right breast 20 years ago and underwent 10 years of therapy to recover — was diagnosed with cancer in her left breast three years ago. Because the cancer was found at an early stage, it was treated quickly through surgery.

However, the center has discovered that people who had cancer in one breast are between five to nine times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease in the other breast at some point in the future, the director of the hospital’s breast center Hung Chin-Sheng (洪進昇) said.

Breast cancer can be caused by many factors, Hung said, adding that women in the higher-risk groups include: those who started having periods before they were 12 years old, women who went into menopause after they were 55 years old, women who had taken estrogen therapy to combat the effects of the menopause for more than 10 years, women on a high-fat diet or women who are obese and women over 30 years old who have never been pregnant.

The center also urged women to undertake regular breast self-examinations and to visit a doctor as soon as possible if any of the seven key signs of concern — “sunken, lump, ulcer, suppuration, enlarged pores, hard lump, swollen” — are discovered.

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