Feb 13, 2019
The total population in Malaysia was estimated at 32.1 million people in 2017, with 15,665,370 of them being female, making up 49.3% of total population.
According to the latest WHO data published in 2018 life expectancy is 75.3 which gives Malaysia a World Life Expectancy ranking 71.
Not only are women live longer, but they also can anticipate the possibility of enjoying a better quality of life throughout their span of years. In order to accomplish this, it is essential comprehend how they can maximize their personal health and fitness.
Two of the most common cancers affecting women are breast and cervical cancers. The latest global figures show that around half a million women die from cervical cancer ad half a million from breast cancer each year. The vast majority of these deaths occur in low and middle income countries where screening, prevention and treatment are almost non-existent, and where vaccination against human papilloma virus needs to take hold.
Sexual and reproduction health problems are responsible for one third of health issues for women between the ages of 15 and 44 years. Reproductive issues like uterine fibroid, endometriosis and ovarian cysts are commonly seen in women of child bearing age group.
|Sexually Transmitted Infections||
The importance of protecting against HPV ( Human Papilloma Virus) by using vaccination.
In 2012, some 4.7 million women died from non-communicable diseases before they reached the age of 70. They died as a result of road traffic accidents, harmful use of tobacco, abuse of alcohol, heart diseases, diabetes, stroke, etc.
if you’re a woman, you’re automatically at greater risk for osteoporosis than men especially after menopause when estrogen is low. The International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that osteoporosis affects about 200 million women worldwide.
Breast cancer is the leading cancer affecting women in Malaysia and studies show one in 19 women will develop this dreaded disease in their lifetime.
Men can also develop breast cancer, although incidences are rare. It is possible to diagnose breast cancer at an early stage. The early detection of cancer greatly increase the chances of successful treatment.
|Age||Women who are over the age of 50 are at greater risk.
|Personal History of Breast Cancer||
Patients who have previously been diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast are more likely to develop the cancer in the other breast.
|Personal History of Ovarian Cancer||
Ovarian cancer is associated with hormone use, a history of ovarian cancer can increases the risk of breast cancer.
|Family History of Breast Cancer||The risk of developing breast cancer is higher if there is a family history of breast cancer.
|BRCA1 or BRCA2 Mutation||Mutations of these genes are associated with an increased risk of developing brest cancer.|
|Exposure to the Hormone Estrogen||The female sex hormone estrogen induces female characteristics. Extended exposure to estrogen can increase the risk of breast cancer.|
|Lifestyle||Lifestyle Factors, such as obesity, lack of exercise, drinking alcohol, exposure to high radiation|
Women with breast cancer may have no symptoms. However, it is important to seek medical attention when the following symptoms appear:
|Breast self-examination (BSE)||Women should regularly check their breasts for any changes in the appearance of the skin or abnormal lumps. It is important to check under the armpits for any lumps as this may indicate the spread of cancer to the lymph nodes.|
BSE is ideally done once a month just after menstruation.
This is the best screening tool to detect early breast cancer. It is an X-ray of the breast which can detect small cancerous lumps which may be missed in a physical clinical examination.
A mammogram screening, also called mammography is recommended if you are over 40 years old. However, if you have a family history of breast cancer or are prone to having suspicious lumps, a mammography is recommended even earlier.
A mammogram is advised every 1 to 2 years but for younger women (below 35 years old), the ultrasound scan of the breast is preferred as breasts at this age contain less dense tissue which makes a mammography less accurate.
|Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC)||This can be done on suspicious lumps. This is a minor procedure that involves the removal of a small amount of tissue from the lump, which is then sent to the lab for further investigation.|
|Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)||This is the most sensitive investigation to detect the presence of cancer cells as it gives a good picture of the soft tissue. However, not all cases require an MRI be conducted unless recommended by the doctor.|
Ovarian Cancer is the 4th most common cancer in Malaysia. Every year, over 500 Malaysian women are affected by ovarian cancer and about 70% of women are diagnosed at stage three or four of the disease, when the cancer has well spread. Compared to other gynaecological cancer like cervical cancer, ovarian cancer has the highest number of deaths.
The exact causes of ovarian cancer is still unknown, but existing research has identified a number of risk factors:
Ovarian cancer may cause several signs and symptoms. Women are more likely to have symptoms if the disease has spread, but even early-stage ovarian cancer can cause them. The most common symptoms include:
Tests and procedures used to diagnose ovarian cancer include:
|Pelvic exam||During a pelvic exam, your doctor inserts gloved fingers into your vagina and simultaneously presses a hand on your abdomen in order to feel (palpate) your pelvic organs. The doctor also visually examines your external genitalia, vagina and cervix.|
|Imaging tests||Tests, such as ultrasound or CT scans of your abdomen and pelvis, may help determine the size, shape and structure of your ovaries.|
|Blood tests||Blood tests might include organ function tests that can help determine your overall health. Your doctor might also test your blood for tumor markers that indicate ovarian cancer. For example, a cancer antigen (CA) 125 test can detect a protein that’s often found on the surface of ovarian cancer cells. These tests can’t tell your doctor whether you have cancer, but may give clues about your diagnosis and prognosis.|
|Surgery||Sometimes your doctor can’t be certain of your diagnosis until you undergo surgery to remove an ovary and have it tested for signs of cancer.|
Malaysia has a population of 11.55 millions women ages 15 years and older who are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Current estimates indicate that every year 2145 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 621 die from the disease. Cervical cancer ranks as the 2nd most frequent cancer among women in Malaysia and the 2nd most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age.
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer, especially the “high-risk” HPV such as HPV type 16 and 18.
|Immune system deficiency||Women with lowered immune systems have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. A lowered immune system can be caused by immune suppression from corticosteroid medications, organ transplantation, treatments for other types of cancer, or from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). When a woman has HIV, her immune system is less able to fight off early cancer.|
|Herpes||Women who have genital herpes have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer.|
|Smoking||Women who smoke are about twice as likely to develop cervical cancer as women who do not smoke.|
|Age||Girls younger than 15 years old rarely develop cervical cancer. The risk goes up between the late teens and mid-30s. Women over 40 years of age remain at risk and need to continue having regular cervical cancer screenings, which include both a Pap smear and HPV test.|
|Socioeconomic factors||Cervical cancer is more common among groups of women who are less likely to have access to screening for cervical cancer.|
Cervical cancer that is detected early is more likely to be treated successfully. Most guidelines suggest that women begin screening for cervical cancer and precancerous changes at age 21.
During a Pap smear, your doctor scrapes and brushes cells from your cervix, which are then examined in a lab for abnormalities. A Pap test can detect abnormal cells in the cervix, including cancer cells and cells that show changes that increase the risk of cervical cancer.
HPV vaccines are vaccines that protect against infection with human papillomaviruses (HPV).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three vaccines that prevent infection with disease-causing HPV types: Gardasil®, Gardasil® 9, and Cervarix®. All three vaccines prevent infection with HPV types 16 and 18, two high-risk HPVs that cause about 70% of cervical cancers and an even higher percentage of some of the other HPV-caused cancers (1, 2). Gardasil also prevents infection with HPV types 6 and 11, which cause 90% of genital warts (3). Gardasil 9 prevents infection with the same four HPV types plus five additional cancer-causing types (31, 33, 45, 52, and 58).
Who should get HPV vaccination?
There are several options for treatment of early-stage cervical cancer. Decisions about treatment depend on the stage of the cancer, your age and health, and your and your doctor’s preferences.
Osteoporosis is a type of bone disease that involves bone denigration due to a loss of calcium in the bones. This condition is generally not painful, unless bones are fractured or broken. It is most commonly found in the spine, hips, and wrists, but can also occur in other parts of the body. In addition, osteoporosis is a major cause of spinal fractures or spinal deformities in older women.
Ways to Protect Yourself
Once someone is diagnosed with osteoporosis, a doctor may recommend medication. The type of treatment varies based on what the doctor considers to be the most appropriate for the patient.