The Pink Month: October Is For Breast Cancer Awareness

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Part of a worldwide initiative to raise awareness of breast cancer, October has been dubbed ‘The Pink Month’. Pink Month is dedicated to raising awareness of the condition, early detection methods, and identifying the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer: South Africa

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and is the leading cause of cancer related death; and its prevalence is only rising (Black & Richmond, 2019; Joffe et al., 2018).

One of the most crucial things you can do for effectively treating the disease is detecting it early (Black & Richmond, 2019).

Yet, a study of South African women with breast cancer by Moodley et al., (2015) found that most women wait an average of 8.5 months between noticing changes to their body and getting a diagnosis.

The women in this study delayed getting a diagnosis because of a lack of breast self-awareness and knowledge of breast cancer symptoms (Moodley et al., 2015).

How To Prevent Breast Cancer

✔ Visit your doctor for a screening and mammogram

✔ Between checkups, do a breast self check

✔ Come to Epicentre and get a Carcinoembryonic Antigen test as part of our women’s wellness package, our CEA (general cancer markers) test is priced from as little as R320

Who Is At Risk For Breast Cancer?

✔ Women who experienced menopause over the age of 50

✔ A family history of breast cancer

✔ Children after 30 or who never had children

✔ Excessive alcohol and tobacco use

✔ A diet high in fat with a lack of physical exercise

✔ Had early menstruation

✔ Use of oral contraceptives and hormone-replacement therapy

Can Men Get Breast Cancer? = Yes, But It’s Rare

Mathew Knowles, the 67-year-old father and former manager of Beyoncé, had breast cancer. He realised something was wrong when drops of blood kept showing up on his shirts.

At first, he thought it might be a new medication or work out that was causing it.

But when his wife, Gena Avery Knowles, also noticed blood appearing on their sheets, he took his investigation one step further. He squished his nipple and blood came out. That moment scared him enough to call his doctor.

Mr Knowles’ doctor performed a blood smear test, which came back inconclusive. But his mammogram definitively showed he had stage 1A breast cancer. That same month he had a mastectomy, with a recovery he describes as fairly easy.

BRCA1 AND BRCA2: The Cancer Genes?

Mr Knowles tested positive for a BRCA2 gene mutation.

BRAC1 and BRCA2 are inheritable mutations to the BRAC protein increase a person’s risk for breast, ovarian, prostate cancers amongst others (Venkitaraman, 2019).

But even if this gene increases the risk of cancer, it’s rare. Even amongst breast cancer patients, only 5% of all breast cancer cases and 1 in 1000 women carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (Akram, 2017). But if you have a family history of cancer, it is highly recommended you get tested.

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We are an independent organization that is committed to creating a positive impact on health & wellness for all in South Africa.

We want to close the gap between unscreened, undiagnosed, and uncontrolled HIV & COVID-19 infections as well as other chronic diseases for all South Africans.

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Please note that our packages are just a guide, you can pick any of these tests in these packages, add extra tests or take out any tests. Choose what suits your needs!

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