BREAST CANCER IS NO JOKE
By: Sinenjabulo Sithole
Cancer is one disease that can be called ‘a silent killer disease’
In South Africa, October month is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This type of cancer is more likely than any other type of cancer- it is treatable when detected early.
According to the South African National Cancer Registry (SANCR), one in 29 women in South Africa will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It is important to do self-examinations regularly and to go for medical check-ups.
Alcohol is one of the substances that increases the risk of getting breast cancer, and obesity is also linked to a higher risk of getting breast cancer, especially for post-menopausal women, and if the weight gain took place during adulthood. The risk seems to be higher if the extra fat is in the waist area. The link between weight and breast cancer risk is complex, but health experts recommend that women maintain a healthy weight throughout life.
According to SANCR, the most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A lump that is painless, hard and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancer. However, some cancers are tender, soft and rounded. It is important to have anything unusual checked by a doctor.
The Durban University of Technology’s City Campus professional nurse, Gladys Myeza, thinks women are sabotaging themselves because they do not see the important of doing self-examinations to lower the chances of getting breast cancer.
“Most women don’t take these issues seriously because we always tell them now and then that they should do self-exams and go regularly for check-ups- don’t wait till it’s too late. This cancer can be prevented. We need to take care of ourselves as women,” said Myeza.
According to the South African National Cancer Registry these are some of the symptoms of breast cancer: Swelling of all or part of the breast, Skin irritation or dimpling, Breast pain, nipple pain or the nipple turning inward, redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin, a nipple discharge other than breast milk, a lump in the underarm area.
The Western Cape Provincial Department of Health has embarked on a Women’s Health Campaign. The campaign is targeting women from across the province who will now be able to access any public health clinic in the province for cervical cancer and breast cancer screening, family planning assistance, antenatal care, contraceptive choices and chronic diseases management.
The aim of the Women’s Health Campaign is to empower women to look after their health and well-being. The campaign continues to create heightened awareness and provides women in the province with a holistic approach to their health.