Be proactive in breast cancer fight
It is that time of the year when we get to raise awareness on the impact of breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but many people are still uneducated about their breast health.
It is a fact that early detection saves lives.
“Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer for South African women of all races, with a lifetime risk of one in 27,” according to the Western Cape government website.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation is working towards ensuring all women have access to screenings, tests and procedures.
Breast cancer awareness is crucial to save lives and help prevent the devastating effects, such as having to undergo a mastectomy, if the disease is discovered at a later stage.
Are people aware of this disease, said to be one of the most common cancers among women in SA?
Or do many of us choose to be ignorant or not have check-ups until cancer strikes.
It was quite shocking to learn, when The Rep intern walked around the streets of Komani to ask people about breast cancer and how often they conducted selfexaminations, that most of those interviewed were not aware of the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign or the risk factors.
Though male breast cancer is rare, reports from the Breast Health Foundation recorded that in SA, 1-3% of all breast cancers occur in men.
“According to the latest data from the National Cancer Register, men have a one in 943 lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.”
Are men aware of these statistics?
Are these awareness campaigns overlooked?
Are there enough conversations on the impact of breast cancer?
Government has encouraged monthly breast self-examination for women, which should be done after their menstrual period.
This is considered an important screening method.
Also, women over the age of 45 are encouraged to have regular mammograms done.
Hopefully, in the near future, we will see an improvement in the diagnostic rate as we proactively take care of our own health by knowing the risks, getting check-ups and conducting selfexaminations.