Breast cancer

08 July 2010

Jennifer Saunders beats cancer

For nine months British actress Jennifer Saunders, of Absolutely Fabulous and French and Saunders fame, has been battling breast cancer. The good news is that she has beaten it.


For nine months British actress Jennifer Saunders (52), of Absolutely Fabulous and French and Saunders fame, has been battling breast cancer. The good news is that she has beaten it.
Jennifer Saunders (right) seen here with Dawn French. (Image: AFP)

According to a report in the London Telegraph newspaper, she discovered a lump on her breast nine months ago but “caught the tumour early and underwent an operation to have it removed”.

The report added that the mother-of-three “faced chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, which caused her to lose her hair” but has since been given the all-clear and this week celebrated her birthday.

Saunders is one of a growing list of celebrities who have battled breast cancer – and won, including singer Kylie Minogue, actress Sharon Stone, Sheryl Crow, Christina Applegate and Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame.

This showed not only that breast cancer does not discriminate, but it also highlights importance of early diagnosis.

A friend in need

Apart from breast cancer, all these women have something else in common too – friends and family helped them get through the bad days and celebrate the good ones. This is one of the aims of local breast cancer organisation Bosom Buddies.

And when you look at the following statistics of the prevalence of breast cancer in South Africa, it’s clear to see why having understanding friends is so important:

  • One in every 31 woman in South Africa is diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in South Africa.  
  • Approximately 5% of woman diagnosed in South Africa are younger than 35 years old. 
  • There has been an alarming increase in woman under the age of 25 being diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • If breast cancer is detected early enough, there is a survival rate of more than 95%.

Early detection is key

Since early detection is key to survival, the Breast Health Foundation, together with Avon Justine iThemba Crusade of Hope and Curves recently launched the first mobile breast health education unit in the Western Cape.

The mobile breast health education unit
The idea is to hopefully reduce the number of breast cancer patients presenting with stage 4 advanced breast cancers by providing education and awareness to empower women with the knowledge of early detection – which will therefore save lives.

Louise Turner of My Breast and a breast cancer survivor explains how the mobile unit works.

The unit will work closely with The Provincial Government of the Western Cape’s Health Department.

The unit will focus on educating the community of the Western Cape about breast health and breast cancer. It will also have a team of breast cancer survivors to educate all women about the importance of breast self-examination and how early detection saves lives.

For more information on these mobile units, contact Louise Turner at 0860 283 343   or  

Source: London Telegraph, Bosom Buddies

(Amy Henderson, Health24, July 2010) 

 Read more:

All you need to know about breast cancer


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Ask the Expert

Breast cancer expert

Dr Gudgeon qualified in Birmingham, England, in 1968. She has more than 40 years experience in oncology, and in 1994 she founded her practice, Cape Breast Care, where she treats benign and malignant breast cancers. Dr Boeddinghaus obtained her qualification at UCT Medical School in 1994 and her MRCP in London in 1998. She has worked extensively in the field of oncology and has a special interest in the hormonal management of breast cancer. She now works with Dr Gudgeon at Cape Breast Care. Read more.

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