The volunteer commissioner on Sunday, marked around the world as World Breast Cancer Day, thanked the organisations and voluntary groups that are active in informing, preventing and supporting patients in the fight against breast cancer.
Their persistent efforts, the office said, have contributed to the implementation of free examination and treatment programmes in Cyprus, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) every year there are around 1.38 million new cases and 458,000 deaths from breast cancer. It is by far the most common female cancer worldwide, both in developed and developing countries. In low- and middle-income countries, incidents have been on the rise in recent years, due to rising life expectancy, urbanisation and the adoption of the Western way of life.
The causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, so early diagnosis remains the cornerstone for reducing the disease. If breast cancer is detected early and there is a proper diagnosis and treatment, then the chances of it being cured are high. But if it is detected late, the treatment cannot be applied.
The majority of deaths (269,000) occur in low- and middle-income countries, where the disease is diagnosed at an advanced stage, mainly due to the lack of information for early detection. There are also difficulties in accessing health services.
Early diagnosis is achieved through self-examination, clinical examination by a specialist and mammography. Smoking cessation, exercise, healthy eating, limiting alcohol consumption, avoiding carcinogens and avoiding sun exposure also contribute to prevention.
All this would not have been achieved without the full support of the state and the active involvement of Civil Society, the volunteer commission’s office said. “The joint effort against breast cancer must continue, medical research must be intensified and information must be universal, so that proper prevention and rapid diagnosis can be achieved,” it concluded.