Sunday, June 21, 2009

Oopsie Boobsie

It's been a while since I had my boobsies squeezed, squashed and kneaded by 'foreign' hands (perish the dirty thoughts, it was my first mammograph!), but it happened again Saturday last, in the name of health and well-being.

Every woman should, at all times, keep abreast with this rather weighty issue, or to be more precise, two prominent points in the life of every woman. Pun aside, breast cancer is definitely not something to trifle with. Never for a second assume that you are safe from this scourge.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Malaysian women from all ethnicities and it is also the most common cause of cancer death among women in Malaysia. The disease accounts for 30.4 percent of newly-diagnosed cancer cases in Malaysian women. [Read here for more details].

I had my first brush with this bane years ago. In 1974 when breast cancer awareness was still in its infancy, I did a self-examination upon the advice of a colleague, and found a lumpy mass in my left breast. It was a terrifying week, one filled with uncertainties. Surgery followed; thankfully the mass proved benign.

I could understand my own fear. We have a chequered family history, cancerwise. Two generations of women paid the ultimate price; Opah (grandma) died of cervical cancer; Wan Su (an aunt), of brain tumour; Mak (mom) had her cancer-ridden ovary removed (she eventually died of kidney failure).

Ten years ago I had both a mammograph (breast cancer screening) and a pap smear (screening for cervical cancer) done. Over the years, I had been meaning to have another go but there were too much dilly-dallying in between. Even getting to know blogger Dalilah and her fight against breast cancer had not heightened the pressure.

But a recent blast from the past had prompted me to take action. An e-mail from one Noriah Omar reached me last week. She introduced herself as my junior in Sekolah Tun Fatimah (STF), in the same batch as my sister Zahana (Class of '74).

Noriah, who owns the Rajawali Travel & Tours travel agency in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, was taking the lead in organising a screening session (at a nominal fee to the operator) for her old STF gang at her premises. Knowing that I live in Taman Tun, she had extended an invitation for me to participate.

It was good to meet up with some of those 'kids' again. They were only 15 when I saw them last! I felt embarrassed that I could not identify any of them save for one or two. Sorry sweeties!

I could only recognise Noraini Bahari (apart from a couple of dress-size bigger, she looked just the same) whose sister Normah (one year my senior in STF) was my brother's gal for a while.

Unlike the old days when mammograph was done by literally compressing one's boobs between two cold steel plates, this new method uses a convenient hand-held detection device (pix above) that is gently pressed onto the breast to be examined. Best of all, it is absolutely pain-free.

This device, consisting of a compact array of 256 electrodes, is connected to a medical-grade PC port during the procedure and data is constructed by proprietary software onto direct-to-digital tomography conductivity images of the breast.

It is radiation-free and has high accuracy rate. And because it is portable and mobile, the operator is willing to set up screening sessions provided one can gather a minimum of 30 persons at any one time. Any less than 30 and the exercise will not be economically viable to the operator.

Those of you who are keen to organise a screening session, at your office or home or any suitable venue, with your colleagues, women's groups, old girls (ex-classmates), or any particular group at all, please give Fazilah Othman of Mobecomm a tinkle at 012-3045148. Mobecomm is Canadian-based; their local representative is an authorised partner of HeiTech Padu Bhd. Don't forget to surf their website at http://www.stayhealthy2u.com/.

For some peace of mind, do it. Early detection saves lives. I am happy to report that I am a-okay for now, thank be to God. Syukur Alhamdulillah!


16 comments:

Noriah said...

Alhamdulillah, Kak Puteri, we have a clean bill of 'breasts' for now. A few who attended the screening that day will have to go for further investigations. We wish them well.

We had a great time that day despite the nagging fear. Nice to meet up with you again after all these years.....

Raden Galoh said...

Salam kak Puteri...

Alhamdulillah akak ok? Bagus kan alat baru tu? I tried it too lepas program Apa kata wanita tu... I met Fazilah and did blog about it... I

think I did mention your name in my blog to get you to check the boobsies.... glad to know, finally you do it!

Love you kak!

Kama said...

You did a good job the other day, bringing the ladies together. Oh, I'm sorry to hear about the few who have to go for further probes. Indeed we wish them well. Semoga takda apa-apa...

Kama said...

Eh Eh Dalilah.. macam janji2 pulak.. I clicked my comment and yopurs came on! Everything ok with you sweetie? One day kita minum kopi... I teringin nak jumpa the other lady bloggers..maybe I should organise..

Ĺaptop™ said...

A quick glimpse.
It looks like a high-tech toast maker.

Important thing is, it is useful.

Tommy Yew said...

Hi Puteri,

This post of yours coincided with the 1st anniversary of Jane McGrath (Wife of Australian cricket great Glenn) passing on 22nd June 2008 due to breast cancer. She was only 42 with 2 young kids. How very sad when life is taken away at this young age.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer at 31y.o You can read all about her on Wikipedia. The point here is the big ‘C’ does not discriminate on age too, so your post on this is a timely reminder to all the women out there that it’s worth the while (and trouble) to go for your annual checkups & screening.

Tommy.

Naz said...

Kak Puteri,
Good that you posted on this. I kinda dread going for the screening when I think of those cold cold plates and the attitude of the hospital people during my first screening. Since now dah ada better alternative, I'm definitely going to get mine done.
Hugs

mozart said...

Puteri,
finally i found your blog.

My good friend found out that she has breast cancer, 2 years ago and she was already stage 2. Now stage 4 and a few weeks back, she had a major brain complications. Luckily, we sent her to SJMC as she kept on repeating everything with 'subha' and 'alham'. Again, luckily, the doctor managed to minimize the damage though the cancer has spread to her brain. I just wish she had done more, while she was still stage 2 and i wish all of us as her friends had done more to push her to do more.

- Hisham @ bf yang lunch dekat delicious petang tadi

Kama said...

Laptop - Hehe, indeed it does look like one of those electric sandwich maker...

Tommy - such a young life taken away, leaving 2 small kids motherless.. it's so sad..

Naz - The old-fashioned way was so painful kan? imagine one's boobs being squashed flat as a pancake between two steel plates.. adoooi.. no wonder not many women wanted to do mammograph..

Mozart - welcome to my blog, Sham. We had a pleasant work-cum-tea semalam. It's a pity about your friend. What's left is doa for her..sedih baca...

Superfluous_Babe said...

salam....
kak, i've been trying to call Fazilah but no answer.

the company i'm working with is thrilled with my suggestion to setup a screening test for the female employees and started to throw questions already.

any email address of Fazilah or other person that i can contact immediately? appreciate your great help.

Kama said...

Hello there SB.. tq for responding. You can also reach Fazilah at her office no: 03-2283 1235. Her e-mail address is dilla@mobecomm.com

Ĺaptop™ said...

Since abt 2% of guys stand the cance of getting the dreadful BC, where do we go for the ~graphy?
Joining the group is definitely out of question.

Kama said...

Lap, you are so far away up north kat kola kedah. i dono if Fazialh has rep office in penang or kedah but it's worth giving her a call. even if men hv only 2 percent chance of getting it, i hv seen pixs of breast cancer in men.. scary la lap...

Ĺaptop™ said...

That ~graphy thing can be applied onto guy's nya benjol eh? (Not fit to even call it a benjol).
But then it is better be early to know than to be sorry.

Mobecom Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd said...

Salam Kak Puteri,

Thanks for sharing the info re on breast cancer screening using EIT to all your frens, in fact there was one lady by the name of Mrs Lim joined our program at DRB-Hicom. Also many thanks to Pn Noriah who has made the initiative to organize the screening session at her office. Glad to meet your STF girls who are always ceria and kelakar!!!! " Early Detection Means Life" - Fazilah - Mobecomm

Mobecom Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd said...

Hi, Dear SB I ve read your message in Kak Puteri's Blog. I been travelling lately. Anyway, you can contact me at 012 304 5148, or office: 03 2283 1235, e-mail: dilla@mobecomm.com or mobecomm2020@gmail.com.
For the ladies from Penang or Kedah who are interested to get EIT screening we can also organize program over there. Pls e-mail me your mobile no and e-mail address so that I could send you the details.TQ. Fazilah- Mobecomm
" Early Detection Means Life"