According to Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital Breast Cancer Unit, 1 in 28 South African women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.
These are often the caregivers in a home and as such, it is safe to say that it is a disease that affects at least 1 in 28 families in South Africa. Although more common in women over 40, it can also develop in younger patients.
Men can also develop breast cancer. The Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital Breast Cancer Unit sees 1 male for every 100 female patients.
Breast cancer develops when normal cells of the breast change behaviour and grow out of control. The abnormal cells divide to form a tumour and this mass of cells is often palpable as a lump in the breast. The cells can also break off and spread to other places in the body by the lymph nodes or blood vessels to other organs.
The following are some of signs of breast cancer:
- A breast lump: this is the most common sign. The lumps are often not painful when they are small.
- Skin changes: this includes dimpling, redness, or an ulcer (a break in the skin)
- Nipple changes: the nipple can be pulled in or change direction, there can also be abnormal discharge from the nipple.
- A lump in the armpit: there can be palpable lymph nodes.
- A change in breast size and shape.
The diagnosis of breast cancer is distressing for any patient. In SA, many women are particularly vulnerable and face more hurdles to reach breast care.
October is a significant month for the Central Gauteng Lions (‘CGL’) and Cricket South Africa as it signifies a period dedicated to raising breast cancer awareness, help society at large and encourage early testing. Early detection does save lives.
The Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital Breast Care Unit is run by a team of dedicated specialists and nurses. They tirelessly provide access to quality breast care, regardless of geographical location and socio-economic status.
The unit sees up to 350 women with newly diagnosed breast cancer every year and provide a service to seven district hospitals from Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and even further afield. Patients from other provinces and all over the continent are also accommodated. On an annual basis, this hospital treats more than 200,000 patients.
The Hospital also trains medical students, interns, medical officers, registrars, and junior consultants in breast care, making it a centre of excellence in this field. There is also a ‘Breast course 4 Nurses’ programme to empower nurses in breast care.
“As the cricketing fraternity, we remain committed to lending our support to all breast cancer patients, members of the public who are in the front line to assist in finding the cure, caregivers, family members who lost their loved ones through breast cancer. We remain committed to supporting the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital Breast Cancer Unit and will continue to raise the awareness around the scourge” said Central Gauteng Lions CEO Jono Leaf-Wright.
“The message is clear, early detection does save lives and the Central Gauteng Lions urges everyone to regularly get tested at their nearest health facility or through our partners Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital and Unjani Clinics near your area” concludes Leaf-Wright.