Did you know that in the Western World, every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and every 14 minutes one will die of this disease? Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55 and every woman is at risk. One in eight women will die of breast cancer in South Africa.
Cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way. Breast cancers occur mostly in women but men can also develop this disease. Breast Cancer begins as a lump, usually a small one in the breast and then gradually begins to grow and spread to other parts of the body. Some lumps may not be cancers, they are benign and don’t spread. However, malignant tumors are made up of cells that can spread to other body parts. Lumps in the breast need to be carefully checked by a Doctor. Self examination on a regular basis is very important in order to identify abnormalities in the breasts.
The exact cause of breast cancer is unknown. The risk increases gradually with age and for some people there may be a family history of this disease. A massive 75% of women with breast cancer developed it after menopause.
Factors that put you at risk
Age: Women over 50 are more likely to get breast cancer.
Gender: Breast Cancer does affect men, but it is 100 times more likely to affect women.
Family History: If a close relative has had the disease, you are more at risk.
Personal History: A woman with cancer in one breast is three to four times more likely to develop cancer in the other breast.
Menstruation: Early onset of menstruation (before age 12) or late menopause (after age 50).
Children: Not having had children, or having had your fist child after age 30.
HRT: Hormone Replacement Therapy taken for more than ten years.
Lifestyle Factors: Smoking, alcohol, obesity and high fat diets are all harmful and can lead to breast cancer.
Mammograms are the key to early detection and are integral tools in the fight against breast cancer. The three most important steps to take are self breast examination, clinical breast examination and mammography. It is recommended by most leading cancer associations to have a routine mammogram every year from the age of forty. If you have a family history of breast cancer or you are a high risk factor, a mammogram should be done from an earlier age. Mammogram screening is the most effective way to detect possible abnormalities. Bayradiology has changed to digital mammography, which improves image quality and leads to more accurate diagnosis.
In support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Bayradiology together with other major sponsors recently hosted a Breast Cancer Dinner in aid of the Look Good, Feel Better Foundation. A donation of R70 000 was made to the organisation.
Prevention is better than cure – make an appointment for your mammogram at Bayradiology on (041) 395 3300.