October is the official Breast Cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in South Africa and it is increasing in incidence. It is likely that every 31 women in South Africa will develop breast cancer in their life time.
Reducing your risk through regular examinations is key:
Many breast lumps are harmless, but they should all be checked. Research has shown that a regular Breast Self-Examination (BSE), plays an important role in discovering breast cancer, compared to finding a breast lump by chance.
A BSE should be done once a month, preferably at the same time of day, following a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Many women have a pattern of lumpiness in their breasts which is normal. However, if you feel or see any change in your breasts or underarms, arrange for a Clinical Breast Examination at your local CANSA Care Centre or with your health practitioner.
Clinical Breast Examinations
A Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) is a visual and manual examination of the entire breast, from the collarbone to the bra line, and from the armpit to the breast bone. It is advisable to have a CBE as part of your annual medical check-up.
Contact your local CANSA Care Centre or health practitioner to arrange for a Clinical Breast Examination.
You can also ask your Care Centre about Mobile Health Clinic visits scheduled in your community, especially if you live in a remote area.
SureTouch Screening Device
SureTouch is a screening device that detects lumps, as small as 5 mm, in the breast. Explored and verified by CANSA, this non-invasive device is an effective screening method (not a diagnostic tool), considered to be more accurate than Breast Self-Examination (BSE), but not replacing a Mammogram. SureTouch screening is available at most CANSA Care Centres.
Mammograms (a special x-ray to detect lumps in the breast), do not prevent breast cancer, but they can save lives by finding breast cancer as early as possible. Finding breast cancers early with mammography has also meant that many more women being treated for breast cancer are able to keep their breasts. When caught early, localised cancers can be removed without resorting to breast removal (mastectomy).
Women from the age of 40 should go for an annual mammogram, for purposes of non-symptomatic breast screening. Women 55 years and older, should have a mammogram every two years – or if they choose, continue with an annual mammogram.
Warning Signs Breast Cancer
If you have any family member that suffers from cancer and needs emergency medical attention contact Life Med Ambulance Services on 0861 086 911 for ambulance assistance.Leave a reply →