October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here are ten tips every woman should know for better breast health, as recommended by Dr Carol-Ann Benn, a leading expert in breast cancer and head of the Breast Care Centre in Johannesburg.
- Seventy percent of all women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors, so don’t be complacent.
- No woman is entirely safe from breast cancer, but you can lower your risk by making sensible lifestyle changes - exercise, eat healthily, don’t smoke and lower your alcohol intake.
- Keep a close eye on your bra - it doesn’t just enhance your silhouette, it helps support your breasts.
- Examine your breasts at least once a month and if you are over 40, go for an annual mammogram, sonar and clinical examinations.
- You are exposed to more radiation from a shopping mall than you are from a mammogram.
- The general practitioner or GP is the first port of call for a patient. But the diagnosis of a breast problem should be made by a specialist radiologist in a radiology suite.
- Breast cancer does not require emergency treatment. If diagnosed, take your time to investigate your options and fully understand your situation. Genetic sampling can assist to better target therapies.
- A multi-disciplinary care centre management approach to breast cancer is recommended. Seek advice and treatment options from a team of specialists.
- A woman can now get excellent breast cancer treatment from the public health care system without assistance from a medical scheme. The Helen Joseph Breast Care Clinic is a leading example.
- Breast reconstruction can be performed at the time of cancer surgery. It is usually a minimum benefit on most medical aids – and it’s safe.
(Novatis Oncology press release)
- (Health24, October 2011)
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