Men must encourage women to go for cancer check-ups

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pretoria - KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo has encouraged men to support their women by encouraging them to visit health facilities for breast cancer examinations.

"It is honourable for a man to care about the reproductive health of his partner, so, we need men of honour!" Dhlomo said on Wednesday.

In commemorating breast cancer awareness month, the provincial departments including Health, Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development in partnership with the Natal Women's Resource Centre and Cancer Association will be taking the message on breast cancer to the peri-urban men and women of kwaMaphumulo on Saturday.

The departments will be encouraging women to ensure that they are screened early for breast cancer in order to get proper and timely treatment interventions.

During the day, on site screening services will be provided to encourage women not to feel ashamed or embarrassed about breast examinations. Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who is the AU Ambassador on Maternal Health, will also be among the speakers to address the community.

According to the Cancer Association of South Africa, one in 29 women in South Africa will be diagnosed with breast cancer, but the good news is that, if it's detected early, there is an excellent chance of recovery.

Mammography is currently the most effective way of finding breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages.

Dhlomo warned that breast self-exams cannot replace regular screening mammograms and clinical breast exams.

"Integrating within existing health practices; represent the best available method to control both the causes and the consequences of cancer.

"This approach addresses all aspects of cancer control including prevention, treatment and management, it stresses the need for evidence based policies and programmes, and promotes a systematic, balanced and coordinated approach to their development and implementation," he said.

Breast cancer is a malignant tumour that starts from the cells of the breast with most breast cancers forming in the cells that line the ducts.

Symptoms of breast cancer include a new lump or mass that is painless, hard and has uneven edges which are more likely to be cancer; however some cancers are tender, soft and rounded.

Other signs of breast cancer include, swelling, skin irritation, pain, nipple pain or a nipple turning inward, redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin, discharge (other than milk), or a lump in the underarm area.

Women are encouraged to contact their health care provider if they notice any unusual changes in their breasts.