According to an article in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, the SA Government says that breast cancer among South African women is increasing. They go on to say that early detection can lead to effective treatment and a positive prognosis. They urge women to regularly self-examine their breasts and go for regular mammograms as both are key to early detection and treatment.

CANSA (The Cancer Association of South Africa) advises women to visit their GP or clinic if they feel or see any change in the breasts or underarms. If one lives in a remote area, CANSA can inform you where to find a Mobile Health Clinic. Should any abnormalities be detected by your GP or clinic, you will then be referred for further testing by a medical professional.

Although this does not remove the need for regular self-examination, CANSA suggests that women from the age of 40 should go for an annual mammogram. For women over 55 years old, a mammogram every two years is appropriate but if they choose, they should continue with an annual check. Women who have other risk factors such as mutated BRCA1/2 gene should be referred for an annual mammogram.

Can men get breast cancer?

Yes, men can get breast cancer. According to CANSA, male breast cancer is rare and accounts for only 1% of all breast cancers. It is a hundred times more common in women than in men. Symptoms may include:

  • A painless lump under the nipple or areola
  • An inverted nipple
  • Swelling of the breast tissue
  • A rash around the nipple
  • Discharge or bleeding from the nipple
  • A swelling or lump in the armpit.

Although breast cancer is rare in men it is worth being aware of these symptoms and if they present, visiting the GP or clinic.