Check yourself this Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Smile 90.4FM

Check yourself this Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Smile 90.4FM

The month of October is now known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a month filled with pink ribbons as the impact of breast cancer is brought to the forefront of conversation.

The South African Health Department has noted that the incidence of breast cancer among South African women is increasing. It is now known as one of the most common cancers among women in the country. According to statistics, breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer amongst white and Asian women and the second most common cancer among black and coloured women.

Signs of breast cancer

The quickest and easiest way to check for breast cancer is to do a self-examination. The most common sign is when a new lump or mass occurs in the breast. A painless lump that is hard and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancer. Some cancers are tender, soft, and rounded. You need to have anything unusual or worrying checked by a doctor. The signs and symptoms for men and women are the same. And yes, though it is most common in women, men can get breast cancer too.

Other signs of breast cancer may include:

  • swelling of all or part of the breast
  • skin irritation or dimpling
  • breast pain
  • nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
  • change in colour or shape or size of the breast
  • change in appearance of moles or skin
  • redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • a nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • a lump in the underarm area
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Credit: WCG – Breast cancer survivor Yolanda Barry demonstrates how to do a breast cancer inspection. She has been cancer free for 11 years.

It is recommended that women do Breast self-examination every month by the age of 20. This consists of inspection and feeling. When doing regular examinations, you will become aware of the normal appearance and feel of your breasts so that any changes from normal will be easily recognised.

How to cope after your diagnosis

Being diagnosed can be scary, but help is available for you and your loved ones. Here are some tips from breast cancer survivors:

1. Ask all the questions you need: Don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor, ask them all the facts and what you can expect when you start treatment. – Breast cancer survivor Trini Arries

2. Feel your emotions and get help if you need to: You may have days where you don’t feel good, but you need to allow yourself to feel your feelings. If you’re struggling to cope, it’s okay to seek help, and speak to a healthcare worker or someone you trust. – Breast cancer palliative care patient Inge Janse Van Rensberg

3. Take care of yourself: Remember to follow the advice from your doctor. Do your best to eat healthy, to move your body, and to get enough sleep. – Breast cancer survivor Lorraine Mentoor.

Breast Cancer Support Organisations:

Reach for Recovery: 084 668 2859

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) – Email: [email protected]; Help Desk: 0800 22 66 22 (toll-free); WhatsApp: 072 197 9305 (English and Afrikaans); WhatsApp: 071 867 3530 (isiXhosa, isiZulu, siSwati, Sesotho and Setswana)

Breast Health Foundation: 0860 283 343

Pink Drive: 083 301 8789

Or visit the Western Cape Government website – Breast cancer awareness | Western Cape Government

READ MORE: Stay abreast of regular mammograms – it could save your life