Women & Cancer
Cancer is one of the most serious diseases women face.
It is important for women to know what is normal for their bodies, and to be aware of symptoms of cancer, as early detection improves treatment outcomes. Read press release…
We urge women and female cancer Survivors to encourage one another to adopt a balanced lifestyle and to go for regular screenings in order to reduce their cancer risk or the recurrence of cancer & to detect cancer early.
Watch Slideshow about Women’s Health
Contact your local CANSA Care Centre for health awareness materials and arrange for screening for Breast, Cervical or Skin Cancer, or ask about scheduled visits to provide screening via our Mobile Health Clinics, if you live in a remote area.
CANSA places the focus on women reducing their cancer risk during September and October. However, we encourage women to make their health a priority all year round.
See info regarding female cancers prevalent in SA & other female cancers below. Find general info regarding cancer here…
Apart from non-melanoma skin cancer, Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in women of all races, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 33 in South Africa, according to the 2009 National Cancer Registry.
Reduce Risk Through Regular Examinations:
Many breast lumps are harmless, but they should all be checked. It is important for women to do monthly breast self-examinations and to go for regular Clinical Breast Examinations.
Symptom-free women from the age of 40, should go for a mammogram (a special x-ray to detect lumps in the breast), every year. (See CANSA Position Statement regarding this).
- Our Care Centres do not offer mammograms, but you can contact the following public hospital Breast Clinics…
- See radiology practices offering a discounted mammogram fee in October 2015…
Contact your local CANSA Care Centre to arrange for a Clinical Breast Examination or if you have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, so that our staff can help guide you through the public health care system and offer you and your loved ones care & support.
Ask your Care Centre about Mobile Health Clinic visits scheduled in your community, local Reach for Recovery Support Groups and read about our Phakamisa Navigation Programme to raise awareness & assist ladies with Breast Cancer…
CANSA supports WAND (Women’s Achievement Network for Disability) in helping to reduce the risk of Breast Cancer in disabled women…
Read more about Breast Cancer, symptoms and reducing risk:
- Infographic – Warning Signs, Myths & Facts: English (NCR 2009) | Afrikaans (NCR 2009)| Sesotho (NCR 2007) | Xhosa (NCR 2007)| Zulu (NCR 2007)
- CANSA Leaflet – Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk & Know Symptoms: English | Afrikaans
- CANSA Position Statement & Fact Sheet Breast Cancer (female) | read more about Breast Cancer in males…
- CANSA Fact Sheet Metastatic Breast Cancer
- CANSA Fact Sheet Breast Cancer, Pregancy & Breastfeeding
- CANSA Fact Sheet Phyllodes Tumours
- Link between Breast Cancer and Malignant Melanoma
- CANSA Caution re Preventative Double Mastectomy
- Buddies for Life online lifestyle publication for cancer Survivors
Lymphoedema (side effect of cancer treatment):
Lymphoedema is a challenging complication of cancer surgery or radiation therapy and is called secondary lymphoedema (lymphoedema occurring at birth due to dysphasia is called primary oedema). It is a common side effect of treatment for women’s cancers, especially Breast Cancer.
It is the accumulation of fluid due to inactive or damaged lymph glands. Lymphoedema causes: Swelling of a body part and usually occurs in the arms or legs, but can also occur in the face, neck, abdomen or genitals. Read more: Lymphoedema Fact Sheet.
Our specially trained Lymphoedema Therapists offer Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) to manage the symptoms – contact your local CANSA Care Centre regarding treatment. Please note that not all Care Centres offer Lymphoedema treatment, but we will be able to assist with regards to referrals in this case.
Cervical Cancer is the 2nd most common cancer among South African women.
1 in 42 women in South Africa will be diagnosed with Cervical Cancer (NCR 2009).
Reduce Risk Through Pap smears
Having regular Pap smears can detect abnormal cells in the cervix (mouth of the womb), that could develop into Cervical Cancer.
We encourage all women to go for Pap smears at least every 3 years, from the age of 25, to detect abnormal cells early. However, women are entitled to be screened at a younger age. Women making use of public sector screening services are entitled to three free Pap smears per lifetime, starting at the age of 30 years or older, with a 10 year interval between each smear. Read CANSA’s Cervical Cancer Position Statement & Fact Sheet for more info…
Contact your local CANSA Care Centre to arrange for a Pap smear or if you have been diagnosed with Cervical Cancer, so that our staff can help guide you through the public health care system and offer you and your loved ones care & support.
Reduce Risk Through Vaccinations
The primary underlying cause of Cervical Cancer is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is transmitted through skin to skin contact and is a very common virus infecting most people at some point in their lives.
There are many types of HPV and some of the virus types can infect the cells that could lead to cancer. About 40 types are sexually transmitted through genital contact while mostly two types (16 + 18) are considered high risk in South Africa.
CANSA supports the Department of Health’s HPV School Vaccination Programme to help reduce Cervical Cancer risk – read news release…
Read more about Cervical Cancer, symptoms and reducing risk:
- Infographic ‘What You Need to Know About Cervical Cancer’: English (NCR 2009) | Afrikaans (NCR 2009) | Sesotho (NCR 2007) | Xhosa (NCR 2007) | Zulu (NCR 2007)
- CANSA Leaflet ‘Assess Your Cervical Cancer Risk & Know Symptoms’: English | Afrikaans
- CANSA Position Statement & Fact Sheet – Cervical Cancer
- CANSA Position Statement & Fact Sheet – Pap Smears During Pregnancy
- CANSA Fact Sheet – Human Papilloma Virus Infection & Cancer
- CANSA Position Statement & Fact Sheet Vaccines & Vaccination
- CANSA Fact Sheet – Cervical Dysplasia
Other Cancers Affecting Women:
- Fallopian Tube Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer (Ovary) – recognise the symptoms & raise awareness…
- Primary Peritoneal Cancer (PPC) (Peritoneum)
- Vaginal & Vulvar Melanoma
- Vaginal Cancer (Vagina)
- Vaginal Clear-Cell Adenosarcoma
- Vulvar Cancer (Vulva)
- Uterine Cancer (Uterus)
How Women can Reduce their Cancer Risk:
Be aware of the importance of the early detection of cancer. This enables more effective treatment and a better chance of recovery.
Acknowledge the importance of:
- a healthy balanced lifestyle
- no tobacco use
- being SunSmart
- preventative screening
- avoiding known cancer-causing factors
We also encourage women to reduce their risk of female cancers by: Avoiding hormone therapy | using condoms to help prevent sexually transmitted infections such as the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is a high risk factor for cervical cancer | consulting a healthcare professional on the HPV vaccine | consulting a healthcare professional for advice on appropriate screening tests if there is a family history of cancer.
Temporary Henna Tattoos & Hair Dye:
It is known that cancer and its treatment can weaken the body’s immune system, because it affects the blood cells that protect one’s body against disease and germs.
As a result cancer Survivors have a compromised immune system and their bodies cannot fight infection, foreign substances, allergies, and disease as well as a healthy person’s body can (American Cancer Society).
Any product like henna skin dyes that have the potential to cause any form of infection, irritation and /or allergic reaction, should be totally avoided by individuals diagnosed with cancer, those undergoing cancer treatment, as well as cancer Survivors.
Has Cancer Touched Your Life?
Cancer affects one in four South Africans, through diagnosis of family, friends, colleagues or self.
We want you to know that you are not alone and that we would like to support you and your loved ones, regardless of how cancer has touched your life.
Find info & online resources to help you fight cancer and please read more about CANSA’s Holistic Care & Support which is offered at our CANSA Care Centres countrywide.