I have a family history of breast cancer, my grandma and her sister both had it. But I guess I also have a family history of tough women – they both beat it! Grandma and my great aunt Sally lived long happy lives, and Grandma only passed at the age of 94!
Did you know that if detected early, breast cancer has a 95% successful treatment rate? The important thing is to detect it early, and a lot of that is up to each of us.
October is breast cancer awareness month and although we should be checking our breasts for abnormalities often (i.e. monthly), in October the world puts extra emphasis on self-examination. The abnormalities to check for include a lump, change in your breast or nipple shape, a discharge from your nipple and even skin discolouration or a rash.
We should start self-examination in our twenties and have annual mammograms from 40 years onwards. Here is a quick video on how to self-examine your breasts. It’s quick and easy but can save your life.
10 FACTS ABOUT BREAST CANCER
#1. The most common cancer
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women worldwide.
#2. One in 31
In South Africa, one in every 31 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
#3. Men get it too
Women are 100 times more likely to get breast cancer, but men can suffer from it too.
#4. Know your family history
Your chances of developing breast cancer doubles if a direct relative (parent or a sibling) has been diagnosed. If you have two direct relatives who have or had breast cancer, your risk is five times higher than the average. That said, the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.
#5. A lump isn’t always cancer
Only 2 in 10 lumps found are breast cancer, but you should always have a lump checked. Remember there are other indications of cancer too (as mentioned above).
#6. Age counts
Women of all ages can develop breast cancer but the older you are the higher the risk.
#7. Be balanced
Smoking, inactivity and excessive alcohol consumption (more than one unit a day) all increase your risk of getting breast cancer. As we at Equilibrio always say: live a healthy, balanced life.
#8. Watch your weight
Overweight women are 1.5 times more likely, and obese women are twice as likely to develop breast cancer when compared to lean women.
Exercising reduces your risk of developing breast cancer even if you are lean. The recommended amount of moderate intensity exercise is 150 minutes a week, but you can benefit from as little as 30 minutes a week.
#10. Lower your stress levels
People who suffer from stress are twice as likely to develop breast cancer.
Remember to see your doctor if you notice anything unusual about your breasts.
You can also go to a Marie Stopes, they have clinics all over South Africa.
Join us on 22 October 2017 when we’ll walk the Avon/Justine Ithemba Walkathon again breast cancer.