Be responsible for your health

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, has encouraged community members in Ekurhuleni to get cancer screenings at public clinics.

Leading a Cancer Awareness Imbizo in Duduza, Tsakane Township on Sunday, she told residents that early detection will save their lives.

“Let’s break the silence and seek help so that you can get treatment. Once cancer is at an advanced stage it’s difficult to cure therefore it’s important to know your health status.

“Let’s prolong our lives. Let’s live a healthy lifestyle so that we can age graciously,” Minister Shabangu said.

Breast and cervical cancer have been identified as a national priority by the 2012 National Cancer Registry (NCR) due to an increase in the number of breast and cervical cancer cases.

Approximately 19.4 million women and young women from 15 years live at-risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in South Africa.

In 2013, deaths from breast cancer and cancers of the female genital tract, accounted for 0.7% and 1% of all deaths in South African, respectively.

“Be there for people who have cancer. Let’s provide emotional support for those who have cancer so that they do not lose hope,” Minister Shabangu said.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the country. The Cancer awareness campaign is aimed at raising early detection awareness by promoting testing, examinations and screening.

The Department of Health, Pink Drive and the Cancer Association of South Africa were part of the Cancer Awareness Imbizo. They conducted on site testing, examinations and screening.

According to CANSA Association’s Prof Michael Herbst, the most five common cancers in the country are breast cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer and cancer of the uterus.

“Women in South Africa stand one in eight chance of being diagnosed with cancer before the age of 74,” Prof Herbst said.

He urged women to reduce their risk of having cancer by avoiding all forms of tobacco products, limit alcohol intake, eat a healthy diet, limit the intake of red meat, avoid processed foods and maintain a healthy weight.

“Work hard to reduce your risk of cancer, know your body so that when you notice any changes you can report these to your health profession. Early diagnosis means through early treatment you will improve your chances of survival,” Prof Herbst said.

He said the signs of breast cancer included swelling of the breasts, irritation of skin in the breast, pain in the breast, discharged in the nipple and thickening of the nipple.

Prof Herbst encouraged women to do monthly breasts examination in an effort to detect cancer. “Men can also have breast cancer. Incidents are not as high as that of women but when men get breast cancer it is usually much more aggressive and many more men diagnosed with breast cancer will die from their cancer,” he said. –

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