1 October 2021 Media Release: Take action during Breast Cancer Awareness month
Take action during Breast Cancer Awareness month
For Immediate Release
1 October 2021
Annually, October marks “Breast Cancer Awareness month”. During this month awareness about the risks and signs of breast cancer are shared with the broader public and through this, support to those affected by it is also supported.
According to studies, early detection remains the cornerstone of controlling cancer. This means, early and adequate diagnosis can lead to effective treatment, resulting in an excellent chance to cure breast cancer. Therefore, women must empower themselves with the knowledge to lower their health risks and be able to take action to address the warning signs of cancer as early as possible.
In South Africa, breast cancer is known to be one of the most common cancers among women of all races. All women are at risk, particularly women with a family history of breast cancer. Approximately 90% of patients survive breast cancer after diagnosis during early detection, but this should be 100% – a whole of society approach is required for this to be achieved.
South Africans are lucky to have an organisation like CANSA (Cancer Association of South Africa) involved in lowering cancer risks and providing an integrated service to all people affected by cancer. CANSA continuously supplies the public with information and support. They are committed to offering day-to-day help, including emotional support to the patients. In addition, they strive to ensure that cancer survivors and their loved ones don’t have to face cancer alone.
In support of “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”, women are encouraged to go for annual medical check-ups and cancer screening; and familiarise themselves with the early warning signs and symptoms of cancer. It is also crucial for women to regularly check their breasts and visit health care practitioners if changes are noticed. Awareness of risk factors can help women reduce their cancer risk.
The following are common breast cancer signs and symptoms, which include:
- a lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit – you might feel the lump but not see it;
- a change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling;
- a change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed;
- a change to the nipple, for example, it has become pulled in (inverted);
- rash or crusting around the nipple;
- any unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple; and
- changes in the size or shape of the breast.
Women must develop the habit of regularly checking their breasts, including the upper chest areas and armpits. It’s simple using the TLC technique (Touch Look Check).
- Touch your breasts: can you feel anything unusual?
- Look for changes: does anything look different?
- Check any changes with your GP
Remember, awareness of the symptoms and early detection can result in an early diagnosis, resulting in improved treatment outcomes. It is in a woman’s nature to generally put others first – BUT, women need to realise that they too have the right to prioritise their own health.