Every October, we come together to commemorate World breast Cancer Awareness Month. We support each other and share messages of solidarity and tips on how to test yourself for breast cancer lumps at home. But away from wearing pink and showing solidarity, what else can we do to raise the profile on breast cancer awareness? Here are a few things to keep in mind;
How often does breast cancer occur?
Breast cancer is the leading cancer affecting women globally. The cancer epidemic continues to be a menace in Kenya, where breast cancer accounted for 12% of total cancers cases in the year 2018.
Who can get breast cancer?
It’s often assumed that breast cancer is exclusive to women. This is not the case, gents, be on the lookout too. But on the lookout for what?
Breast cancer Risk Factors
If there is a family history of breast cancer in your family, then you are at a higher risk of contracting it in the future. To be safe, get screened often. Breast Cancer and menstruation have an interesting relationship; putting women that receive their period early (before 12) and those that experience late menopause (after 55) at a higher risk. It is important to note that age is also a factor; two out of five women diagnosed with cancer are above the age of 55.
Here are the signs to look out for:
If you think you have cancer, it is important to talk with a healthcare professional and chart the way forward. But before you do that, take a closer look and watch out for-
- A lump in your breast or underarm. One that tends to persist long after your menstrual cycle.
- Pain or unusual tenderness in your breast. Be sure not to confuse this with the tenderness associated with the menstrual cycle.
- Changes in the appearance of your breasts. Take a close look at your girls, repeatedly, over time. The things to watch out for in this case are size, contour, reddish pitted surface and temperature of the breast.
The key to beating Breast cancer is in early detection.
This is through regular screening;
- A good place to start is through the self -breast exam. This should be done monthly, by all women above the age of 20- throughout their various life stages.
- The second type of breast cancer screening is mammograms. However, these should be limited as overexposure to X-rays poses a risk to your health. Your doctor or healthcare professional at hand will advise on how often these should be conducted.
- The breast cancer ultrasound puts all fears to rest by determining whether the lumps are actually solid mass(es) or just cysts filled with fluid. Upon interrogation, a breast MRI is conducted to determine the presence of cancerous cells.
Breast cancer is not a death sentence and with early detection, one can make a quick recovery. However, it is a strenuous journey, one you or your loved ones should not walk alone, let us help you through it; our medical insurance covers breast cancer screening and treatment. Here is everything you need to know about our medical cover.