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Pretoria residents encouraged to protect themselves from breast cancer

“Vaccination and Covid-19 seem popular these days leading some to even forget that we still have other killer diseases, such as breast cancer, that need to be dealt with,” says a community leader.

A Sunnyside community leader has urged local residents to conduct breast cancer check-ups this month.

October is breast cancer awareness month in South Africa when the public and private healthcare structures embark on a nationwide drive, to raise awareness of this debilitating disease across all races and class structures.

Community leader Mpho Lewele, who is also the former general secretary of the Sunnyside CPF, said it was important for him to speak about the dangers posed by the disease to some community members in the midst of coronavirus pandemic and vaccination.

“I urge all women and men in Sunnyside, Arcadia and surroundings to take breast cancer seriously by conducting at least self-examination and consult healthcare professionals if they suspect something is wrong with their breasts,” Lewele told Rekord.

“Vaccination and Covid-19 seem popular these days leading some to even forget that we still have other diseases, such as breast cancer, that need to be dealt with.”

He said he believed his message would encourage women and men to conduct screening that could lead to early detection and saving lives.

Late last year, Rekord reported on cancer survivor and Moot resident Elsabe van Staden, who said conducting regular self-examination remained a sure way for early detection of breast cancer and increased opportunities to save lives.

Cancer survivor Elsabe van Staden urges residents to conduct self-examinations and go for a mammogram every year. Photo: Ron Sibiya

“Self-examination is still a very good method for detection,” Van Staden said.

According to Van Staden, who has been in remission since March 2017, women over 40 should go for a mammogram at least once a year.

Sharing her experience, she said she had been diagnosed with breast cancer late in 2015, when it was at an early stage. She went for chemotherapy for a year, before undergoing about six surgeries, consisting of removing the affected breast and reconstructing it, she said.

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Van Staden warned that keeping silent and being in denial were some of the greatest setbacks in the fight against the disease.

She emphasised that people should consult their doctors for further check-ups and expert advice.

According to a statement issued by the South African government on its website, early detection of the condition can lead to effective treatment and a positive prognosis.

It cited that about 90% of patients survived for many years after diagnosis when breast cancer was detected at the early stages.

It stated that the key to early detection was regular self-breast examination and regular mammograms.

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