I read with great sadness the passing of Datin Seri Endon Mahmood, 64, the wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. She passed away on Thursday after battling breast cancer for the last 3 years. Her twin sister had also succumbed to breast cancer in 2003.
From all accounts, Datin Seri Endon was gracious, humble and unassuming. She had been very involved in awareness programs for breast cancer. Malaysians from all walks of life will miss this unassuming first lady of Malaysia.
Personally, I had 3 friends who died of breast cancer. Breast cancer is a leading cause in illness-related fatalities for women in Malaysia. According to the American Cancer Society (Cancer Facts and Figures 2005), an estimated 211,240 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women in 2005 alone.
I have never had a mammogram done, but I have an appointment in November for a mammography. It is very important for women to do breast self examination once a month and see a doctor quickly if any irregularity is detected. If detected early, breast cancer has a very high survival rate. Women with a family history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer before age 50, should be extra vigilant of the disease.
Remember, breast cancer awareness raises the survival rate.