Almost one in 30 women in South Africa is likely to get breast cancer – but the good news is that regular self-examinations can detect tumours early. Some of the reasons why women get breast cancer – your age and genetics, for example – can’t be changed. But choosing healthy lifestyle options – such as losing weight, exercising, giving up smoking and eating better – can reduce your risk of getting the disease.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Vodacom Siyakha's Mum & Baby also provides helpful information about women's health, and best of all, the content is freely available and you don't use any data if you get started today.
Try to get into the habit of monthly breast self-examination to familiarise yourself with potential changes in your breast tissue.
What changes am I looking for?
- Puckering of the skin of the breast
- A lump in the breast or armpit
- A change to the skin around the nipple (any bleeding or moist areas that don’t heal)
- Discharge from the nipple (unless you’re breastfeeding and it’s milky)
- Dimpling of the nipple or nipple retraction
- An unusual increase in the size of one breast
- Any change to the nipple position – if you notice one breast is unusually lower than the other and your nipples are at different levels
- Enlarged glands
- Any unusual swelling in the armpit
- Any unusual pain or discomfort in one breast
If you notice anything unusual consult your doctor immediately. Remember, self-examinations shouldn’t replace mammograms.
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