Critical early detection | News24

Breast cancer, the most common form of cancer in women, is a serious threat to South Africans.

According to Professor Alicia Sherriff, head of the oncology department at Free State University, an average of 350 to 400 new breast cancer patients are treated each year at the Universitas annex hospital in Bloemfontein.

While there has not been a significant increase in breast cancer cases over the past two years, Sherriff believes continued efforts need to be made to raise awareness of the risks and signs of the disease.

An awareness campaign has the ability to make early diagnoses and improve the chances of survival.

“As breast cancer is treatable and curable, early detection is of the utmost importance,” she says.

“Raising awareness of all age groups and communities is essential. “

According to Sherriff, a report from the American Cancer Society showed that female breast cancer overtook lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2020, with around 2.3 million new cases. This represents 11.7% of all cancer cases.

It is the fifth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with 685,000 deaths recorded last year.

Sherriff defines breast cancer as the abnormal growth of breast tissue.

“Although the cause is unknown in most patients, certain factors – such as familial genetic syndromes, smoking, binge drinking and obesity – could increase your risk of developing breast cancer,” says -she.

“However, it is important to note that a person can develop breast cancer even if there is no family history. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, but women as young as 18 have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

She says the importance of self-examination cannot be overstated, as it will help women become familiar with their breasts and detect any changes early on.

“The self-examination should always be done at the same time of the menstrual cycle. ”

  • While breast cancer is generally considered a female disease, 1.8% of breast cancer diagnoses in South Africa are made in men.


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