WITH the odds of developing breast cancer stacked against the female population, early detection can make all the difference to the average female.
One of the main ways women in the country can check for signs of breast cancer is through palpation — feeling your own breasts for lumps and or discolouring.
Another way, which is often considered a luxury for those who can afford it, is through a breast scan called a mammogram.
According to the Fiji Cancer Society's acting president, Dr Tukaha Mua, both of these methods were important for the early detection of breast cancer.
"Mammograms are X-rays of the breasts that pick up early cancers in the breast tissue and started back in 1913" Dr Mua said.
"The biggest problem in Fiji though is that women have to pay for this service and thousands will not pay $50 or $80 to get a scan done every year or every second year."
When asked about how women can do their palpations effectively, Dr Mua explained there were two things to consider — puckering and dimpling of the breasts.
"Feel your breasts regularly and well for breast tissue that has hardened, puckering is when the breast tissue creases or wrinkles.
"And dimpling is like orange skin and when you see that, it's 100 per cent sure that you have breast cancer," Dr Mua added.
At present, mammograms at the Suva Private Hospital are $77 for a scan and $120 for a scan and X-ray.