Though breast cancer is recognized as one of the top cancers affecting Bangladeshi women, people in Bangladesh are still very tight-lipped about the disease. Because of social stigma attached to sexual organs, most of the women in Bangladesh are completely unaware of their illness. In Bangladesh, not only rural and uneducated women but also educated ones consider talking about breast cancer as something shameful. That’s why they are often late in early detection of the disease.
This certainly causes a lack of communication among the family members and friends about breast cancer. Taboo is the reason for many premature deaths of breast cancer in Bangladesh. In this regard, mass media can play a vital role by building awareness and helping to encourage open conversation around on this issue.
It is startling to note that about 12,764 new breast cancer patients are globally detected every year while the number of deaths from breast cancer annually is 6,846. The situation is worsening every day. According to World Health Organization (WHO), 65.5 per cent of breast cancer patients delay their diagnosis by more than six months, although 83 per cent of them find lumps in their breasts or have other symptoms of breast cancer. Hence, there is no alternative to breaking the stigmas regarding breast cancer to lessen the sufferings of breast cancer and improve the mortality rate.
Oncologists confirm that although all modern facilities are available in Bangladesh for the treatment of different stages of breast cancer, the number of cancer centres is not increasing comparing to the rise of the disease. So government as well as private initiatives should be encouraged in establishment of more cancer care centres. The government should give more emphasis on buying modern machines and equipments which can serve the people at a cheaper cost. Concerted efforts by the government as well as private sectors are needed for improving breast cancer care services in Bangladesh.
Breast cancer is curable if detected at the early stage. In this regard, there is a need for regular self-examination of abnormality of breasts. Breast cancer patients should be treated as breast cancer survivors by changing the public mindset through education and improving awareness about the disease, timely screening tests for early diagnosis and better treatment options.