For the years 2015 to 2018, the Cancer Institute of Guyana (CIG), a non-profit organization, has documented the diagnosis and treatment of over 1000 persons, including men and women in Guyana, with cancer, specifically of the breast.While for the year 2019 just over 100 women were diagnosed with breast cancer so far and they were being treated, this number is expected to increase as the cancer institute seeks to raise more awareness.Cancer Institute Medical Outreach Director, Dr Syed Ghazi and Oncologist and Medical Director, Dr Sayan ChakrabortyThese statistics were presented by Oncologist and Medical Director of the Institute, Dr Sayan Chakraborty during a press briefing on Thursday, at the Institute’s building located in the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) compound.“In 2015, there was about 267 patients who were treated … almost every year; in 2017, we saw a spike, there were 300 patients who were treated at the Cancer Institute through radiation therapy. The trend is always 266, 267, gradually creeping up, sometimes it’s been going down, so we cannot ignore this situation which we are dealing with,” he stated.Dr Chakraborty emphasised the fact that men could also be victims of breast cancer, but, according to him, there is usually a misconception behind this.“It’s a misconception that breast cancer can only happen in ladies. Breast cancer – a very small percentage – is found in men. So, it’s not that breast cancer is exclusive to women; it is not so, but it can also be found in men,” the doctor said.For this reason, the Institute has collaborated with the Oasis Premium water company to host its annual breast cancer awareness walk, on October 20 under the theme “We walk as one”.But even as this is so, Cancer Institute Medical Outreach Director, Dr Syed Ghazi stressed the importance of bringing awareness to the various forms of cancer which account for the deaths of about 120,000 women yearly.“So, why is it important to make people aware of what’s going on? It is important because if you know, in South America, it is like 400,000 new cases every year of women and men together – 120,000 women die every year, 96,000 of those women died with breast cancer and the other 36,000 die from cervical cancer,” Dr Ghazi noted.In addition, the Institute will be offering mammograms, ultrasounds and Pap smears at a discounted price as a mean of encouraging both men and women who experience cancer symptoms to get checked. Other private institutions are being encouraged to make financial contributions so that this service can be made available to every Guyanese.Breast cancer is one form of cancer that develops from breast tissue. Signs of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, and fluid coming from the nipple, a newly-inverted nipple, or a red or scaly patch of skin. Both young and older women are being advised to get screened if these signs become visible.