Breast cancer affects approximately 27 in 100 000 women in South Africa and accounts for 16% of cancer deaths amongst women. In the past three years, there has been an alarming increase in cancer diagnosis in women under 30.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, a nationwide initiative to help raise awareness of the deliberating disease across all age groups and backgrounds.
During this month, women are made aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease, the most common being a palpable lump in the breast that may be painless. An ultrasound or a mammogram is used to detect early breast cancer before a lump is felt.
The importance of early detection and self-examination is also stressed, with the most suitable day for self-examination being the last day of a women’s cycle.
Risk factors are important to pay attention to; these include being between the ages of 40 and 50, family history of breast cancer, personal history of cancer and received treatment, gave birth to your first child after 30 or have never had children, menstruation before teens, experienced menopause after the age of 50 or underwent long-term hormone replacement therapy.
While great strides have been made in breast cancer treatment, it still relies heavily on early detection. No two individuals are the same, and successful treatment can be influenced by tumour characteristics, the stage of the disease, and the treatment plan that the patient has chosen.
Join the October Breast Cancer Awareness month campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer to promote early detection and support women in reducing their breast cancer risks, screening, and seeking medical attention if a lump is detected.
Together, we can help support those fighting breast cancer.