Tell Her, Tell All
17 August 2015: CANSA is raising awareness in September and October with its ‘Tell her, tell all’ Women’s Health Campaign. The focus is on educating regarding cancers that affect women, including breast, cervical, ovarian and uterine.
‘Tell her, tell all’ campaign aims to educate women on the significance of knowing their body, and the importance of regular cancer screening. And to encourage all women to get to know the warning signs of cancer and what to do to reduce the cancer risk. It’s vital to educate oneself and to know the signs and symptoms of these cancers.
CANSA has over 180 fact sheets sharing the signs, risks, symptoms and treatment options of all types of cancers, to help increase knowledge.
Apart from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women of all races and ethnicities. According to the 2009 National Cancer Registry, 1 in 33 women in South Africa have a lifetime risk for breast cancer.
The second most common cancer among women is cervical cancer, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 42 women in South Africa.
The incidence of cancer of the uterus is 1 in 160 women, and 1 in 460 have a lifetime risk for ovarian cancer.
Lesang Moholobela, whose mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer, also had a cancer scare herself and encourages women to do regular screening. “In 2012, I was doing a breast self-examination and found a lump in my breast. Fortunately, there was no cause for alarm. However, I always tell people that ‘you know your body best’. It’s not taboo to touch yourself. Doing a breast self-examination or getting a clinical breast exam at least once a month is crucial.” Find out more on how to do monthly breast self-examination…
Nellie Snyman found a lump in her breast during a routine examination in October 2010. She was referred to a specialist who diagnosed her with breast cancer, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. “I lost my hair but not my humour – my friends encouraged me to wear big earrings, because I reminded them of a famous singer and I took the challenge to take off my wig at functions where nobody expected it. As a cancer Survivor, I volunteer with CANSA as part of the CANSA Relay For Life programme, to create awareness of the disease.”
“It’s been an amazing journey with highs and lows weaved together. I realised how important it is to look after your health and to go for the necessary health checks regularly. CANSA assisted me throughout the seven-week treatment period. I live everyday with hope and encourage other Survivors to do the same. A healthy lifestyle is of the utmost importance,” says Lucinda Carter, 10-year cervical cancer Survivor.
Various screenings are available for women:
- Do monthly breast self-examinations and Pap smears
- Go for regular screening (clinical breast examinations) available at 30 CANSA Care Centres countrywide
- Symptom-free women should go for a mammogram every year from age 40
- SureTouch – non-invasive device for safe breast screening (not a diagnostic tool) – available at some CANSA Care Centres
- CANSA also has various Mobile Health Clinics which offer screening to people in communities who do not have easy access to health screening
When it comes to screening for cervical cancer, it’s important to go for regular Pap smears that can detect abnormal cells in the cervix (mouth of the womb), that could develop into cervical cancer. CANSA encourages all women ages 18 – 25 who have ever been sexually active to have a Pap smear every 3 years, or 2 years later after first sexual activity (whichever is later) and continue until age 70. Also learn more about the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, which reduces the risk of cervical cancer…