A Proactive Approach to Women's Cancer Prevention: Causes, Detection, and Lifestyle". Featuring Dr. Mohammad Masumul Haque by CHONDO

A Proactive Approach to Women’s Cancer Prevention: Causes, Detection, and Lifestyle


The word ‘cancer’ creates fear in us. Out of all the diseases, cancer feels like the scariest one. In Bangladesh, the yearly cancer diagnosis number is 150,000. About 120,000 people in Bangladesh die because of it every year. The numbers will only rise in the coming years. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the incidence rate will double by 2030. In Bangladesh, the cancer numbers are increasing rapidly. There was a time when we heard of ‘cancer’ as something that was diagnosed in a friend of a friend. It seemed deadly but distant from our personal circle. But, these days, we hear about cancer cases not only within our social group but also in our own family.

Among women, the most common cancers we hear about are breast cancer, cervical cancer, and oral cavity cancer.


It is hard to pin down one specific reason behind someone contracting cancer. It can be a mix of several reasons that have had long-lasting contact with your physical health.

Tobacco or Smoking: When we hear about tobacco, we assume it’s limited to smoking only. But this is used in many edible items like gul, khaini, and zarda, which are normalised in our country.

Obesity: Being overweight raises your risk of developing cancer. For women, the risk is even higher, especially for ovarian cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and gallbladder cancer.

Drinking: Even though this is not a common practice in Bangladesh, nevertheless, it increases our risk of getting cancer.

Our country’s polluted environment and adulterated food add to our possibility of cancer.

Cancer Causes in Women

Women are more vulnerable to the cancer risk factors mentioned above. Some common reasons that further increase their chances are:

  • Human papillomavirus infection (HPV infection)
  • Early marriage
  • Frequent childbearing
  • Late marriage (after the late 30s)
  • Geriatric pregnancy (pregnancy after 35)

Early Signs

Before the onset of cancer in your body, you can show several symptoms in the early stages.

  • Frequent cough
  • Prolonged cough
  • Cough with blood
  • Difficulty swallowing food
  • Digestive issues
  • Bowel problems
  • Feeling cyst or lump in the body; especially true for breast cancer
  • Obvious changes in moles and warts
  • Bleeding from unusual places

Cancer Detection

You may ask, “If I am showing these symptoms, does it mean I have cancer?” or “What can I do to prevent cancer, especially as a woman?” Who plays the leading role to prevent women’s cancer rates? The answer is women themselves. Most cancers faced by women in Bangladesh are in the early stages where it is treatable or possible to prevent from further spreading. In particular, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and oral cavity cancer can be treated in the early stages. Here’s few proactive steps you can take to identify and address potential cancer symptoms through timely detection.

Breast Cancer

One of the biggest concerns of a woman is developing breast cancer. If detected early, the breast cancer survival rate is extremely high.

For women who are 20 and above, there is a simple method called “Self Breast Examination” that they can do at home without any cost. If you notice any lump or cyst in your breast or armpit area while performing this examination, and show any symptoms of cancer, consult a doctor immediately.

Never put off these things. A month or two’s difference can change everything.

Self Breast Examinations should be done once every month. You can perform it by yourself. The ideal time is 7-10 days after finishing your menstruation.

For women who are 35 and above, it is recommended to get a clinical breast examination by a doctor at least once a year.

For women who are 40 and above, it is good to get a mammogram every 1-3 years. However, it is advisable to get a mammogram after your doctor has suggested it.

Uterine Cancer and Cervical Cancer

Women who are 30 and above, can get the VIA test under the Bangladesh Government’s programme for preventing uterine cancer. You can get a test done once every three years.

Should the doctor find any inconsistencies in your VIA test, they will suggest a colonoscopy or subsequent necessary procedures.

The cervical cancer vaccine is essential for every girl between the ages of 9 and 13. If you have crossed this age, don’t worry. You can receive it after consulting a doctor.

Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Tests in Bangladesh

The government of Bangladesh has developed a project for preventing cancers in women. Under this scheme, Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program is provided completely free by the Bangladesh government.

These tests are absolutely free of cost. You can seek them out in many upazila hospitals, district headquarters hospitals, medical colleges, and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.

The Importance of Early Detection

Cancers can be divided into three parts.

One of the third is preventable cancers. If a person follows certain rules, they can reduce the risk of contracting such cancers. Among them are cervical cancer, lung cancer, and oral cavity cancer.

By learning and consciously staying away from the factors responsible for the development of these cancers, you can reduce risks greatly.

The second category includes cancers, which, if diagnosed at an early stage, can be completely cured through appropriate treatment. Among these are breast cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer and many other types.

By noticing the symptoms of these cancers in the early stage, you can consult a specialist doctor. If it is detected early, proper treatment can be given. The chances of recovering are very high.

The third and last group is cancers that cannot be cured or prevented. However, through palliative care, we can try to ensure a quality life for cancer patients.

Dr. Mohammad Masumul Haque
Founder, Cancer Awareness Foundation of Bangladesh.

Download Chondo App

Track your period and get notified.



Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *