BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
“October” is breast cancer awareness month, and we at Netcare Krugersdorp
Hospital are passionate about supporting the awareness for breast cancer, in our
untiring effort to create awareness and reduce the stigma of breast cancer through
education. Our primary focus is increasing attention, early detection and treatment. Krugersdorp Breast Unit offers a team of experts in various fields of breast cancer management that work collectively to provide the best treatment available.
Breast cancer is the most common type of non-skin cancer and most frequent cause
of cancer death in women worldwide, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 25 in South Africa.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a group of diseases in which cells in the breast tissue change and
divide uncontrolled, typically resulting in a lump or mass. Most breast cancers begin
in the lobules (milk glands) or in the ducts that connect the lobules to the nipple.
What are the high risk factors?
Increasing age-data has shown that the risks of breast cancer increases with older age.
The risks of breast cancer for women 70 years and older is 1 in 14
Females-breast cancer occurs 100 times more frequently in women, than in
Menstrual cycle-risk increases with earlier menstruation and later menopause.
Family history of breast cancer-a women with a first-degree relative (parent, child or
sibling)diagnosed with breast cancer are at an increased risk for the disease compared to women without a family history. Risk of breast cancer is approximately 1.5 times higher for women with one affected first degree relative and 2-4 times higher for women with more than one first degree relative. Genetic Predisposition, inherited pathogenic genetic variations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 account for 5-10 % of all familial breast cancer.
Lifestyle factors-alcohol and smoking are factors associated with an
Factors that are not associated with breast cancer are; abortion, brassiere and
What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
Breast cancer typically has no symptoms. However, a small tumor is easily treatable.
Therefore, screening is imperative for early detection of breast cancer. The most
common physical sign is a painless lump. Breast cancer can also spread to the
underarm lymph nodes, causing a lump or swelling. The less common signs and
symptoms may include breast pain, swelling, thickening or redness of the skin,
nipple changes such as spontaneous discharge and scaliness or retraction.
How is breast cancer diagnosed?
Breast cancer is detected either during screening before symptoms have developed
or after noticing a lump. Subsequent to detection, a tissue microscopic analysis is
usually obtained from a needle biopsy.
How is breast cancer treated?
Treatment has to be individualized and is based upon several factors. Optimal
management in most cases require collaboration between surgeons (breast surgeon
and plastic surgeons) and physicians who specialize in radiation and medical
Most patients with breast cancer have one or more of the following options:-
Surgery to remove the cancer. People can choose between two types of surgery
Mastectomy (removing the entire breast)
Breast conserving surgery, surgery removes the cancer and a small section of
healthy tissue. In this option the breast is retained.
Radiation that destroys cancer cells
Chemotherapy is a medical term for medication that also destroys cancer cells or
Hormone therapy- some forms of breast cancer grow in response to hormones.
Targeted therapy medication that work on cancers that have certain characteristics.
There are two significant aspects in breast cancer prevention: ‘early detection’ and
‘risk reduction’. We are at Krugersdorp Breast Unit are here at your doorstep with a
team of experts to assist you. “Big or small, save them all”