Breast Cancer

Written by: Wahida Sabir

Cancer is a dangerous disease and it has various types. Some types are not curable, but some of these diseases could be treated. Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan estimated that about twenty thousand residents of Afghanistan might be dealt with different types of cancers and more than 3500 women are suffering from breast cancer.

Breast cancer develops from breast tissue. AEPO’s writer/producer has talked to some women, who suffer from breast cancer and a physician About the symptoms, diagnosing and treatment of this disease.

Leema, a resident of Chahar Asiab district, Kabul province says: “my uncle’s wife had breast cancer and later my cousin also developed breast cancer. My uncle’s wife died but my cousin treated her breast cancer.”

A woman, a resident of Farza district, Kabul province, who doesn’t want to mention her name, says: “at the beginning, I found a small lump in my breast and then my nipple pulled inward. I was ashamed to tell anything about my illness for some years. When my health condition was getting worse and I lost my appetite, then I shared the issue with brother and he took me to a doctor. The doctor Removed a sample of my breast cells and he sent it for diagnosing outside the country. When the result reached, I had breast cancer.”

Another woman from Chahar Asiab district says: “I have an infant to feed him. When I was feeding him, discharge was coming from my one breast and it had pain too. When the physician visited me, he diagnosed it breast cancer. The physician removed a lump from my breast and now, I am feeling better.”

Doctor Zabihullah Stanakzai, an internist at cancer branch, Jamhoriat hospital, Kabul city says: “breast cancer is the growth of a small lump in the various parts of the breast, which is mostly painless and sometimes painful.  Some purulent discharge; discharge automatically and without pressure from the breast; discharge from one nipple, and changes in the shape of the breast skin in the form of an orange skin (have small holes), and the nipple pulls inward.  the progression of the disease leads to the death of the patient.”

How could one know that she has breast cancer?

Razia, a resident of Kabul city says: “when I want to take a bath, I check my breasts wither they have pain or hard object. Once I found a lump in my one breast. I went to a physician and he diagnosed that the milk was accumulated in my breast and I got rid of anxiety.”

Zahra, a resident of Paghman district, Kabul province says: “I suffer from breast pain. I want to visit a doctor soon.”

Doctor Stanakzai says: “When women and girls take a bath, they should check their breasts in front of a mirror. If they found a lump in their breast; change in color; enlargement of the breast; discharging of blood or liquid from a nipple, they should visit a physician for checking and testing the lump. Best time for the surgery of breast cancer is seven days after period. The sooner they are diagnosed, the sooner they are treated, and they should never hide their disease."

How do women treat their breast cancer?

A resident of Farza district says: “I had breast cancer. I went to the hospital and they operated my breast cancer and then I went for radiation. I lost my all hairs but now I am entirely well and have a good appetite.”

Another woman from Mazar-e- Sharif says: “A hard object grew under my armpit. I went to the hospital and they removed my one breast and now I am recovered from breast cancer.”

Doctor Stanakzai confirms what the patients said and he adds:  "that the patients should not hide their disease because this disease has three types of treatment: medication, radiation therapy, and surgery. If the patient starts her treatment at the first stage, the physician would remove the gland from the patient’s breast and in the advanced stage, the breast and lump would be removed and medication would be advised.”